Definition of federal
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 governmentb : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial unitsc : 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
federallyplay \ˈfe-d(ə-)rə-lē\ adverb
Examples of federal in a Sentence
We pay federal, state, and local taxes.
The ruling was overturned by a federal appeals court.
furniture made in the Federal style
Recent Examples of federal from the Web
Then the IRS withheld Morel’s $840 federal tax return.
A group of 19 state attorneys general is suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying an overhaul of rules to erase the federal student debt of borrowers defrauded by colleges.
Last week, the omnipresent president found his way into the federal appeal of one of the most controversial murder convictions in Warren County history.
The details of how any change in the federal health law rules would play out in various states and in each health policy are still murky; the GOP Senate bill is still in draft form, and a lot will be left up to the state.
Also next week, senators are set to confirm David Nye to a federal district court in Idaho.
On June 26th, the justices refused to review the ruling, leaving the federal appeal decision as is and residents with little hope of relief.
One of the solutions discussed by the working group is getting the federal government to respect the laws of states that have passed recreational marijuana laws.
The special, titled Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, focuses on a decades-old photo that was found in the National Archives by retired federal agent Les Kinney.
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.
Definition of Federal
1 : a supporter of the U.S. government in the Civil War; especially : a soldier in the federal armies
2 : fed 1 —usually used in plural The Federals arrested the smugglers.
First Known Use of federal
FEDERAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of federal for English Language Learners
: 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
Definition of Federal for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of federal for Students
: relating to a nation formed by the union of several parts
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
Origin and Etymology of federal
Latin foeder-, foedus compact, league
Seen and Heard
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