federal

adjective
fed·er·al | \ˈfe-d(ə-)rəl \

Definition of federal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : of or relating to a compact or treaty

2a : formed by a compact between political units that surrender their individual sovereignty to a central authority but retain limited residuary powers of government

b : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units

c : of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent units

3 capitalized : advocating or friendly to the principle of a federal government with strong centralized powers especially : of or relating to the American Federalists

4 often capitalized : of, relating to, or loyal to the federal government or the Union armies of the U.S. in the American Civil War

5 capitalized : being or belonging to a style of architecture and decoration current in the U.S. following the American Revolution

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 plural The Federals arrested the smugglers.

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Other Words from federal

Adjective

federally \ˈfe-d(ə-)rə-lē \ 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

Microsoft employees recently protested the company’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that has been involved in the separation of migrant children from their families at the border. New York Times, "Microsoft Urges Congress to Regulate Use of Facial Recognition," 13 July 2018 Microsoft and Salesforce have also resisted calls from employees to abandon business deals with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the federal agencies involved in the family separation controversy. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "Tech community wrestles over working with government," 13 July 2018 CBS News has reached out to multiple federal agencies for clarification. Graham Kates, CBS News, "Child who may be American, separated from mom at border, has been in federal custody since 2015," 13 July 2018 On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order forming a Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud—which focuses on digital currency fraud and money laundering—to coordinate investigations across federal agencies. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Someone Found a Use for Bitcoin. Russian Hackers!," 13 July 2018 In his dozen years as an appellate judge, Mr Kavanaugh has shown a willingness to curtail federal agencies. The Economist, "Brett Kavanaugh could shape the law for the next 40 years," 12 July 2018 The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority hopes a 49-page governance agreement convinces a federal agency to help fund the South Shore Line’s West Lake extension at the higher costs. Tim Zorn, Post-Tribune, "West Lake rail expansion project cost rises to $764.3M, RDA says," 12 July 2018 In a court filing, ACLU attorneys argued that several federal agencies failed to meet a Tuesday deadline set by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw to reunite the first group of children, those under age 5. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "ACLU: Trump administration should pay counseling for separated families," 12 July 2018 Since a number of these plans are large, a collapse could cause the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the benefits of private-sector pensions, to become insolvent. Joel Naroff, Philly.com, "The looming retirement crisis for public and private employees," 12 July 2018

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 1

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

Adjective

Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league

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Phrases Related to federal

make a federal case out of

Statistics for federal

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for federal

The first known use of federal was in 1624

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More Definitions for federal

federal

adjective

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)

: a supporter of the government of the U.S. in the American Civil War; especially : a soldier in the federal armies

: a federal agent or officer

federal

adjective
fed·er·al | \ˈfe-də-rəl, 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on 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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