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

Seeking to keep up pressure on Trump and the Republicans, Pelosi said the House would begin passing individual bills this week to reopen some federal agencies, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "Trump pleads on TV for wall money; Dems say he ‘stokes fear’," 8 Jan. 2019 As such, modular homes are required to comply with local building and zoning laws, as opposed to the federal law. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "The Impressive Evolution Of Prefabricated Houses," 24 Dec. 2018 Her perseverance forced the local, state, and federal governments to act. Sarah Hurtes, Harper's BAZAAR, "Women Who Risk Everything to Defend the Environment," 30 Nov. 2018 Under current federal law, cannabis and anything derived from the plant (including CBD) is considered a Schedule I drug. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Updated: What You Need to Know About Epidiolex, the First FDA-Approved Drug Made From Cannabis," 1 Nov. 2018 Now, in what many analysts are calling a partisan political play right before the midterm elections, the administration will attempt to roll back the recognition and protection of transgender people under federal civil rights laws. Jennifer Williams, Glamour, "The Trump Administration's Wish to Erase Transgender People Includes Me. But I'm a Republican.," 23 Oct. 2018 In June, a federal judge in San Diego ordered that families be reunited in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "After Separation at Border, a Family Celebrates First Holidays in U.S.," 24 Dec. 2018 This year, Christmas Eve has been declared an official federal holiday, but most major bank branches will be open, according to Yahoo Finance. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "Good News: These Stores Will Be Open on Christmas Eve," 22 Dec. 2018 The latest threat came last week when a federal judge in Texas ruled the ACA unconstitutional. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Almost Two-Thirds of Women in the U.S. Use Some Form of Birth Control," 20 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 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

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Statistics for federal

Last Updated

13 Jan 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)

: 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

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

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