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 Along with Congressional seats, census data is used to determine state redistricting and $1.5 trillion each year in federal funding. Washington Post, "Second federal court blocks Trump memo on excluding undocumented immigrants from apportionment," 22 Oct. 2020 A dozen states supplement the federal funding with a dedicated source of state revenue through Alicia's Law — named for Kozak. Dustin Racioppi, USA TODAY, "'People don’t want to talk about it,' but reports of children being exploited online have spiked substantially," 22 Oct. 2020 Under the Breaux Act, federal funding pays for 85% of design and construction costs, and the state pays the rest. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Despite active hurricane season, Louisiana's coastal restoration projects saw little damage; here's why," 22 Oct. 2020 The district also carried over more than $5 million in federal grant funding from the previous year. oregonlive, "Portland Public Schools avoided major coronavirus cuts, but still socking away $20 million expecting future shortfalls," 21 Oct. 2020 Nuestra Cultura Cura program aims to reach out to farmworkers, laborers and domestic workers with about $1.3 million in mostly federal funding through December. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "Why Sonoma is the only Bay Area county stuck in the strictest reopening tier," 21 Oct. 2020 Jones has worked to steer federal funding to historically Black colleges such as Tuskegee University, Macon County’s largest employer. al, "What is the Doug ‘Jonesiest’ county in Alabama?," 20 Oct. 2020 Some additional resources may be available to help them at their schools, financial aid and at CareerSource Central Florida, which received $7 million in federal coronavirus funding in July. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "As some Disney workers lose their jobs, their free college education vanishes, too," 19 Oct. 2020 In an effort to encourage more Michiganders to complete the 2020 census, Rep. Andy Levin initially misstated that each American not counted creates a loss in federal funding for health care programs. Detroit Free Press, "The Michiganders' guide to voting in the 2020 election," 19 Oct. 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

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Federal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/federal. Accessed 29 Oct. 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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Comments on federal

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