federal

adjective
fed·​er·​al | \ ˈfe-d(ə-)rəl How to pronounce federal (audio) \

Definition of federal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units
b : of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent units
c : formed by a compact between political units that surrender their individual sovereignty to a central authority but retain limited residuary powers of government
2 often capitalized : of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government or the Union armies of the U.S. in the American Civil War
3 capitalized : being or belonging to a style of architecture and decoration current in the U.S. following the American Revolution
4 capitalized : advocating or friendly to the principle of a federal government with strong centralized powers especially : of or relating to the American Federalists
5 archaic : of or relating to a compact or treaty

Federal

noun

Definition of Federal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a supporter of the U.S. government in the Civil War especially : a soldier in the federal armies
2 : fed sense 1 usually used in pluralThe Federals arrested the smugglers.

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Other Words from federal

Adjective

federally \ ˈfe-​d(ə-​)rə-​lē How to pronounce federally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of federal in a Sentence

Adjective We pay federal, state, and local taxes. The ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court. furniture made in the Federal style
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The federal investigation into the motivations of a gunman who killed nine people last year in Dayton’s crowded entertainment area is nearing an end, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office for southern Ohio said Thursday. Kyle Brown, Cincinnati.com, "FBI says probe into Dayton shooter’s motives nearing end," 13 Feb. 2020 Former employees of the agency and some members of Congress have asked for a federal investigation into whether the scrutiny is political. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "EPA names former PG&E attorney to head West Coast office," 11 Feb. 2020 The department’s new rules would go further, adding definitions for domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as misconduct that universities must tackle or risk federal investigations and a loss of funding. Erica L. Green, BostonGlobe.com, "New campus sexual misconduct rules will tackle dating violence," 10 Feb. 2020 Bourget was indicted on two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law and Lavorato was indicted on obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction and falsification of records in a federal investigation. Christina Maxouris And Rebekah Riess, CNN, "Two correctional officers injured a federal prison inmate and then tried to cover it up, Justice Department says," 7 Feb. 2020 All three ran numerous programs that did not pass the gainful employment rule’s standards and have been subject to federal and state investigations. Fortune, "Betsy DeVos is letting for-profit colleges trap students in debt they can never repay," 6 Feb. 2020 Years before, Vines had cooperated with the federal investigation into the $4.6 billion fraud that crippled once-giant Birmingham healthcare company HealthSouth and even testified before Congress on his involvement in helping blow the whistle. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Ex-Country Club of Birmingham worker gets federal prison for embezzlement of $630,000," 21 Feb. 2020 Garcia was eventually arrested during a federal investigation into the Latin Kings. CBS News, "Man wrongfully convicted of murder sues New York for $100 million," 21 Feb. 2020 As talk of federal investigations grew in September, Zuckerberg visited the White House. Craig Timberg, Washington Post, "How conservatives learned to wield power inside Facebook," 20 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'federal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of federal

Adjective

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 5

Noun

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for federal

Adjective

Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide

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Time Traveler for federal

Time Traveler

The first known use of federal was in 1624

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Statistics for federal

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Federal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/federal. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for federal

federal

adjective
How to pronounce Federal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of federal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a form of government in which power is shared between a central government and individual states, provinces, etc.
: of or relating to the central government
: of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government during the American Civil War

Federal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of Federal (Entry 2 of 2)

US
: a supporter of the government of the U.S. in the American Civil War especially : a soldier in the federal armies
formal : a federal agent or officer

federal

adjective
fed·​er·​al | \ ˈfe-də-rəl How to pronounce federal (audio) , ˈfe-drəl \

Kids Definition of federal

: relating to a nation formed by the union of several parts

federal

adjective
fed·​er·​al

Legal Definition of federal

1 : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units (as states) a federal government
2 : of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent territorial units (as states) especially : of or relating to the laws made and enforced by the federal government a federal crime

Other Words from federal

federally adverb

History and Etymology for federal

Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league

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More from Merriam-Webster on federal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for federal

Spanish Central: Translation of federal

Nglish: Translation of federal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of federal for Arabic Speakers

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