na·​tion | \ ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio) \

Definition of nation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : nationality sense 5a three Slav peoples … forged into a Yugoslavia without really fusing into a Yugoslav nation— Hans Kohn
(2) : a politically organized nationality
(3) in the Bible : a non-Jewish nationality why do the nations conspire — Psalms 2:1 (Revised Standard Version)
b : a community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government Canada is a nation with a written constitution— B. K. Sandwell
c : a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status a nation of vast size with a small population— Mary K. Hammond
2 archaic : group, aggregation
3 : a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians) the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma


biographical name
Na·​tion | \ ˈnā-shən How to pronounce Nation (audio) \

Definition of Nation (Entry 2 of 2)

Car*ry \ ˈker-​ē How to pronounce Nation (audio) , ˈka-​rē \ Amelia 1846–1911 née Moore American temperance agitator

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Synonyms for nation

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of nation in a Sentence

Noun It's one of the richest nations in the world. the largest state in the nation The President will speak to the nation tonight. The entire nation is celebrating the victory.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In fact, the host nation, Japan, is trailing many of its economic peers in its vaccination efforts, having protected only about 2% of its population so far. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Pfizer and BioNTech to provide Covid-19 vaccine to Olympic, Paralympic delegations," 9 May 2021 Ken and Karma Sammy met as teenagers at a church in Trinidad, the larger of two islands of the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. oregonlive, "COVID-19 battles bring out the best in health care heroes," 8 May 2021 In that time the nation has warmed an average of half a degree Fahrenheit. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "NOAA's "new normal" climate report is anything but normal," 8 May 2021 Paul Budi, a freshman homeland security major from Medina, was among the Slippery Rock students who competed among the nation’s top cadets at West Point. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Medina native competes among nation’s top cadets at West Point," 8 May 2021 Nasheed, the current Parliament speaker, has been an outspoken critic of religious extremism in the predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, where preaching and practicing other faiths are banned by law. Mohamed Sharuhaan, Star Tribune, "Maldives: Islamic extremists behind attack on ex-president," 8 May 2021 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing growing pressure to impose a strict nationwide lockdown as the nation faces a historic and crippling surge of the virus. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Vaccine-themed concert marks surreal pandemic moment; NYC still storing bodies in refrigerated trucks: Latest COVID-19 updates," 8 May 2021 And the leisure and hospitality industry, a low-wage sector that would be most affected by a disincentive, had the nation’s strongest growth last month, adding 331,000 jobs., "A disappointing jobs report shows rocky road for the recovery and Biden’s efforts to push new spending," 8 May 2021 Countries around the world have stepped up to help the nation amid its massive surge, with around 300 tons of supplies arriving at Delhi International Airport alone by last Sunday. Eve Sneider, Wired, "Pfizer's FDA Request, Vaccine Diplomacy, and More Coronavirus News," 7 May 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for nation


Middle English nacioun, from Anglo-French naciun, from Latin nation-, natio birth, race, nation, from nasci to be born; akin to Latin gignere to beget — more at kin

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Time Traveler for nation

Time Traveler

The first known use of nation was in the 14th century

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Statistics for nation

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for nation



English Language Learners Definition of nation

: a large area of land that is controlled by its own government
: the people who live in a nation
: a tribe of Native Americans or a group of Native American tribes that share the same history, traditions, or language


na·​tion | \ ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio) \

Kids Definition of nation

1 : country sense 1 China is a nation I'd like to visit.
2 : a community of people made up of one or more nationalities usually with its own territory and government … here is a race that the whole nation is clamoring for …— Walter Farley, The Black Stallion

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