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

Novoselsky was accused of filing frivolous federal and state lawsuits in 2008 and 2009 against the Zvunca estate’s lead lawyer, Jeanine Stevens, and two other lawyers. Todd Lighty, chicagotribune.com, "Lawyer should lose license for misconduct in case of girl who watched mother run over by bus, panel says," 13 June 2019 In a federal lawsuit, the Blue Ash woman said she was unjustly fired by Butler County Judge Greg Stephens after asking to take time off work for Jewish holidays. Keith Bierygolick, Cincinnati.com, "‘I thought about killing myself’: Magistrate fired by judge claims religious discrimination," 13 June 2019 Arkansas Little Rock: The voting system for electing judges to the state’s top courts violates black residents’ rights by diluting the strength of their votes, according to a federal lawsuit filed by civil rights lawyers. USA TODAY, "Pride pickup, sphinx on move, Tony Stark’s cabin: News from around our 50 states," 13 June 2019 The owners of Maximum Security have since filed a federal lawsuit, seeking to overturn the disqualification. Ben Church, CNN, "Belmont Stakes 2019: The final chapter in this year's controversial Triple Crown," 7 June 2019 Families of all three men filed federal civil lawsuits against the city, which ultimately resulted in settlements costing Vallejo almost a combined $2.5 million. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Vallejo seeks to delay federal lawsuit case against police officers," 6 June 2019 Longmeyer is serving 70 months in federal prison after being convicted for a more than $200,000 kickback scheme. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Beshear along with Adkins, Edelen plans Democrat unity rallies amid Bevin's GOP quarrels," 6 June 2019 But a federal lawsuit filed in January by the same woman is still active, and Las Vegas police said their investigation of the allegations remains open. CBS News, "Cristiano Ronaldo rape lawsuit dropped in Nevada, federal suit remains active," 5 June 2019 The state of Maryland has settled for $1.4 million a federal lawsuit filed by blind current and former inmates alleging discrimination. Baltimore Sun, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland settles federal lawsuit by blind inmates for $1.4 million," 5 June 2019

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

16 Jun 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

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