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 plural The 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

No federal law requires such protection, though a U.S. Senate bill co-sponsored in 2017 by senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) would do exactly that. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Yes, Autopilot Was On in the Tesla Model 3 Crash in March, NTSB Report Confirms," 16 May 2019 Our volunteers descended on Capitol Hill yesterday to show support for a Red Flag law at the federal level. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Gun Violence Is a Women's Issue," 27 Mar. 2019 Currently, the Title X program provides federal funding for facilities that offer family planning and other preventive services, especially those that serve lower income patients. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here's What a 'Domestic Gag Rule' on Abortion Would Actually Mean for All of Us," 22 Feb. 2019 Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has kept quiet about the impasse over US federal funding. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump threatens to shut down the border for the third time in three months," 29 Dec. 2018 The sentencing comes as federal prosecutors in New York continue to investigate foreign donations to the Presidential Inaugural Committee and as the Justice Department has been cracking down on foreign lobbying violations. Chad Day, The Seattle Times, "Lobbyist gets probation in case spun off from Russia probe," 13 Apr. 2019 According to NBC News, federal prosecutors say the plan focused on getting students admitted to prestigious universities through bribery, cheating and a whole lot of lying. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman Among Dozens of Wealthy Parents Indicted in College Admissions Cheating Scheme," 12 Mar. 2019 This means federal prosecutors are weighing whether to pursue a criminal investigation. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Ryan Zinke to resign as Interior Secretary at the end of the year," 15 Dec. 2018 Reuters' Joseph Menn reported that the audit was apparently undertaken by Nardello & Co, a global investigative firm founded by former US federal prosecutor Daniel Nardello. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Audit: No Chinese surveillance implants in Supermicro boards found," 11 Dec. 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 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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Statistics for federal

Last Updated

19 May 2019

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)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of federal

Nglish: Translation of federal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of federal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on federal

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