mil·​i·​tary | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce military (audio) \

Definition of military

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to soldiers, arms, or war military discipline the country's military needs
b : of or relating to armed forces especially : of or relating to ground or sometimes ground and air forces as opposed to naval forces military and naval affairs
2a : performed or made by armed forces military operations
b : supported by armed force a military government
3 : of or relating to the army the military academy at West Point


plural military also militaries

Definition of military (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : military persons especially : army officers

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Synonyms & Antonyms for military

Synonyms: Adjective

martial, service

Synonyms: Noun

armed forces, colors, service, troops

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of military in a Sentence


He is being tried in a military court rather than in a civilian court. He has had a long military career.


There were many military present but only a few civilians. some would insist that the military's budget is still inadequate
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

While Memorial Day and Veterans Day both honor our country’s military forces, there are some subtle yet important differences between the two. Andra Chantim, Good Housekeeping, "How Memorial Day Is Different Than Veterans Day," 11 May 2019 The beloved K-pop group's eldest, 29-year-old Xiumin will be the first in EXO to take part in South Korea's mandatory military service. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Xiumin of EXO Just Shaved Off All His Hair for His Impending Military Enlistment," 6 May 2019 The proximity to South Africa, and Pretoria’s military ties to Israel made a South African-Israeli test a leading theory. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Sheep Glands Point to Nukes as Source of Mysterious 1979 Explosion," 12 Sep. 2018 The United States and India have signed an agreement to bolster military ties as both powers eye China’s growing influence in Asia, according to reports. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "U.S and India bolster military ties with focus on China," 7 Sep. 2018 In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, the Bangtan Boys opened up about the potentially imminent possibility of the band eventually breaking up due to South Korea’s mandatory military service. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "BTS Said They Will Likely Eventually Break Up to Serve in the South Korean Military," 23 Apr. 2019 The first lady will also address military personnel and their families. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Melania Trump, Karen Pence to tour Fort Bragg," 12 Apr. 2019 Our military personnel are under a binding agreement with the U.S. and can’t quit at will without being prosecuted. WSJ, "Fix the VA, but Honor the Military Contract," 7 Apr. 2019 President Trump’s ban on transgender military service will go into effect tomorrow, April 12. Ian Malone, Vogue, "This Year’s Jeffrey Fashion Cares Event Unfolded in Spectacular Fashion," 11 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Leaders of Sudan’s military and the protest movement that unseated dictator Omar al-Bashir agreed on a three-year blueprint for democratic rule, days after clashes between the two sides left at least four people dead. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Sudan Takes First Tentative Steps Toward Democratic Rule," 15 May 2019 In previous indictments, authorities also named Carvajal as part of several high-ranking Venezuelan military and law enforcement officials who provided a haven to major drug traffickers from neighboring Colombia. Aritz Parra, The Seattle Times, "Venezuela’s ex-spy chief arrested in Madrid on US warrant," 13 Apr. 2019 Despite significant defections early in the conflict, the security services and military have not shown significant cracks. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 What’s happening in Austin is a microcosm of the nationwide effort to let entrepreneurs and military meet face-to-face. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Disrupting the Pentagon: Can the Air Force Learn To Love Startup Culture?," 12 Apr. 2019 Two charts from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the US military’s independent group that oversees how US tax dollar are spent in the war, show this trend. Alex Ward, Vox, "After 17 years of war, Afghan government and Taliban may meet for peace talks," 18 Dec. 2018 Its military runs its own commercial operations, giving it economic clout. Niharika Mandhana, WSJ, "At Trump-Kim Summit, Host Vietnam Blazes Trail for North Korea," 23 Feb. 2019 Formerly a residential area for ex-members of the military, what is now called Rainbow Village in Taichung, Taiwan, was set to be redeveloped. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 Palin — a staunch supporter of the military whose 29-year-old son, Track, served in the army — responded to Ruddick's Twitter statement in a Facebook post. Evan Real, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sarah Palin Reveals Details of Sacha Baron Cohen Showtime Interview," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'military.' 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 military


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for military

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Latin militaris, from milit-, miles soldier

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Statistics for military

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for military

The first known use of military was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for military



English Language Learners Definition of military

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to soldiers or the armed forces (such as the army, navy, marines, and air force)
: of or relating to the army
: controlled or supported by armed forces



English Language Learners Definition of military (Entry 2 of 2)

: members of the armed forces : military people


mil·​i·​tary | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce military (audio) \

Kids Definition of military

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to soldiers, the army, or war military drills
2 : carried on by soldiers : supported by armed forces a military government


plural military

Kids Definition of military (Entry 2 of 2)

: members of the armed forces

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More from Merriam-Webster on military

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with military

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for military

Spanish Central: Translation of military

Nglish: Translation of military for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of military for Arabic Speakers

Comments on military

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


one that collects or salvages junk

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