federalism

noun
fed·​er·​al·​ism | \ˈfe-d(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of federalism 

1a often capitalized : the distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent (see constituent entry 2 sense 1) units under our system of federalism, states bear the primary responsibility for defining and controlling criminal behavior— W. R. LaFave & J. R. Israel — compare centralism

b : support or advocacy of this principle

2 capitalized : Federalist principles

Examples of federalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That’s why delisting would be a win not only for the Caniks and Posticals but also for federalism and property rights. Cori Petersen, WSJ, "Wolves Attack Wisconsin With Washington’s Help," 27 July 2018 Perhaps Democrats’ newfound 2017 commitment to federalism will amount to more than a form of resistance to Trump. Lee Drutman, Vox, "America has local political institutions but nationalized politics. This is a problem.," 31 May 2018 But these actions only treat the symptoms of the strife, not the cause: ethnic federalism. Yohannes Y. Gedamu, Washington Post, "Ethiopia just pardoned political prisoners. Could that signal a shift to real democracy?," 9 Feb. 2018 Especially on issues like separation of powers, federalism, areas of religious freedom, free exercise in particular. Fox News, "Leonard Leo on why Trump appointed Judge Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 Although appellate judges consider many of the same substantive questions as Supreme Court justices, broad questions of judicial deference, federalism, constitutional law, and civil rights cross district judges’ desk less often. Kevin Cope, Washington Post, "Exactly how conservative are the judges on Trump’s short list for the Supreme Court? Take a look at this one chart.," 7 July 2018 Because federalism, judicial restraint — any one of these concerns can be overridden in a particular context by other concerns. Mark Arsenault, BostonGlobe.com, "In polarizing era, respect for precedent depends on the case," 11 July 2018 Mr Duterte argues that federalism would transfer power and money away from Manila to other, poorer parts of the country. The Economist, "The president of the Philippines wants to change the constitution," 28 June 2018 One great thing about federalism is that states can innovate, demonstrate, and incorporate ideas from one another. BostonGlobe.com, "Should Massachusetts drop tuition and fees for in-state students at its public colleges and universities?," 22 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of federalism

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about federalism

Share federalism

Statistics for federalism

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for federalism

The first known use of federalism was in 1787

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for federalism

federalism

noun, often capitalized
fed·​er·​al·​ism | \ˈfe-drə-ˌli-zəm, ˈfe-də-rə- \

Legal Definition of federalism 

: distribution of power in a federation between the central authority and the constituent units (as states) involving especially the allocation of significant lawmaking powers to those constituent units — compare comity, full faith and credit, states' rights

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on federalism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with federalism

Spanish Central: Translation of federalism

Nglish: Translation of federalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about federalism

Comments on federalism

What made you want to look up federalism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!