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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of military in a Sentence

Adjective He is being tried in a military court rather than in a civilian court. He has had a long military career. Noun 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 The list of federal shelters has been growing exponentially in recent weeks, with new ones opening weekly at military bases, convention centers and former oil field camps. Los Angeles Times, "‘La Gran Madre’ helps child migrants separated from their families — because she was one," 16 Apr. 2021 Last year's National Defense Authorization Act included the goal of renaming military bases with names associated with the Confederate Army from the U.S. Civil War. Rylee Kirk, The Arizona Republic, "Gallego, Grijalva lead efforts to have Army base renamed after a Latino military hero," 15 Apr. 2021 The main character is a G.I. Joe-style doll that was only available for purchase on American military bases during the second Iraq War. Danielle Avram, Dallas News, "Nasher Prize laureate Michael Rakowitz finally gets his due after pandemic delay," 15 Apr. 2021 Lewis has served in South Korea and on military bases in Georgia, Washington, Louisiana and Kentucky. Faith Karimi, CNN, "What Black drivers are doing to protect themselves during traffic stops," 14 Apr. 2021 The number of contamination sites nationwide is growing at an alarming rate, including at our military bases. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Dingell, Upton try again to force EPA to act on nonstick PFAS compounds in water," 14 Apr. 2021 Beijing also is seeking to at least double its nuclear-weapons stockpile during the next decade and will continue pursuing overseas military bases, the report says. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "China to Continue Push for Global Power, Press Taiwan for Reunification, U.S. Report Says," 13 Apr. 2021 All current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards are still accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until Oct. 1, 2021. Bob Bong,, "Comings & Goings: Cannabis store opens in Chicago Ridge," 13 Apr. 2021 Because of its strategic location on the Red Sea, Djibouti hosts several foreign military bases including those of the United States, France, China and others. Hassan Barise, Star Tribune, "Djibouti says longtime president on way to winning 5th term," 10 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In addition to Kalay, the military has targeted other pockets of resistance where residents have armed themselves with rudimentary weapons., "Myanmar’s protesters face down the military with slingshots and rocks," 17 Apr. 2021 As Hough describes it, the military’s inculcation process relies on the same cartoonish reduction of the world to nonexistent binaries — only black and white, good vs. evil — as every other doomsday cult’s. Washington Post, "Raised in a cult, Lauren Hough’s salvation was the discovery of her own inimitable voice," 17 Apr. 2021 On Friday, the Pentagon announced new measures to combat extremism inside the military. oregonlive, "How an active duty airman tried to start a civil war," 17 Apr. 2021 Her supporters suspect the military will use the charges to exclude Suu Kyi and perhaps her political party from any future election. Reuters, CNN, "Myanmar releases prisoners for New Year, though likely not dissidents," 17 Apr. 2021 Since the attack on the Capitol, the military has sought to get a better sense of the problem. NBC News, "In secret Facebook groups, America's best warriors share racist jabs, lies about 2020, even QAnon theories," 16 Apr. 2021 China’s rising military might may top the agenda when President Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meet Friday, but the two leaders also have unfinished business to resolve on the trade front. Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, "Japan Wants U.S. Back in the TPP. It Will Likely Have to Wait.," 16 Apr. 2021 His four siblings shared stories of their brother with their own children, some of whom joined the military. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Lost for decades, a World War II hero finally comes home," 16 Apr. 2021 But the Chinese military has a geographic advantage. David Axe, Forbes, "It Took Four Aerial Tankers To Drag Four U.S. Air Force F-16s To The South China Sea—And That’s A Problem," 16 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for military

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for military

Last Updated

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Military.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on military

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