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

Synonyms & Antonyms for military

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The German military plans to donate seven of the heavy weapons to Ukraine. Mark Landler, New York Times, 11 May 2022 President Joe Biden on Friday authorized the shipment of another $150 million in military assistance for Ukraine for artillery rounds and radar systems in its fight against Russia's invading forces. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 7 May 2022 The United States provided intelligence that helped the Ukrainian military sink the Moskva, the Russian Black Sea fleet flagship, U.S. officials told The Washington Post. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 Rozier ingeniously skirted the problem by introducing a friend of Michel’s who’d just come back from his military service. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 5 May 2022 The White House says nearly all of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress provided last month for military assistance is depleted. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 29 Apr. 2022 Ukrainians now fear Transnistria may be pulled into the war, joining Russia’s military operation to attack the country from the opposing front. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 29 Apr. 2022 The military issues thousands of less-than-honorable discharges every year, which disqualifies veterans from health and counseling benefits that may help them, according to the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Doug Collins, Hartford Courant, 28 Apr. 2022 Her father, a military contractor, is working with the army. David Lyons, Sun Sentinel, 17 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sheikh Khalifa held numerous positions under Sheikh Zayed thereafter, including in the military and as head of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. Asa Fitch, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Shortly after her son was born, Raechyl married a man in the military and moved to Alaska. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 10 May 2022 Victoria Kutocha, a mother of three whose husband remained in Ukraine to fight in the military, told Biden of her journey to Slovakia and her outrage at Russia’s explanation for its invasion. Washington Post, 8 May 2022 The Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry in Aurora Saturday morning dedicated a special area in its garden to honor those who have served in the military, in hopes that more veterans will come out to plant and grow at the site. David Sharos, Chicago Tribune, 7 May 2022 The 22-year-old veteran believed to be the first American killed while fighting in the Ukrainian military was serving as a volunteer, not a private contractor, two fellow fighters said Thursday, contradicting earlier reports suggesting the latter. Arkansas Online, 7 May 2022 Hardships, hunger, strikes among the workforce and resistance to orders in the military are likely to create cascading crises. Alexandra Wrage, Forbes, 5 May 2022 Or how about those who served in the military and benefitted from the GI Bill? Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 May 2022 The game will be played in honor of a Sunset alum who was killed while serving in the military. oregonlive, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About military

Time Traveler for military

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near military



military academy

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for military

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Military.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for military


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

More from Merriam-Webster on military

Nglish: Translation of military for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of military for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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