na·​tion ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio)
: nationality sense 5a
three Slav peoples … forged into a Yugoslavia without really fusing into a Yugoslav nationHans Kohn
: a politically organized nationality
in the Bible : a non-Jewish nationality
why do the nations conspirePsalms 2:1 (Revised Standard Version)
: 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 constitutionB. K. Sandwell
: 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 populationMary K. Hammond
archaic : group, aggregation
: a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians)
the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma

Examples of nation in a Sentence

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.
Recent Examples on the Web While its relative importance in U.S. policy in the Middle East has diminished as the global clout and wealth of Gulf nations has grown, Egypt continues to occupy a key role in U.S. dealings with the region. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023 By comparison, the Group of Seven industrial nations—which include the U.S., Japan and U.K.—as well as the entire European Union agreed to ban the import of refined petroleum products from Russia last year. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2023 Against an infrastructure that shows little interest in supporting them, Grrrl Gang have carved their own niche in their home nation, with their goal now to prove that Indonesian alternative rock music can rub shoulders with the world’s elite. Max Pilley, Spin, 22 Sep. 2023 Within weeks, further talks were arranged in the nearby Gulf nation of Qatar, which had been trying for years to help broker the release of the Americans. Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2023 Pandemics and plagues transmitted across human and animal populations have long challenged the efforts of nations to keep their citizens healthy. Dominic Green, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2023 Saudi Arabia has been strengthening its ties with China as Washington’s rivalry with the Asian nation heats up. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 21 Sep. 2023 King Charles arrived in France on Wednesday for a three-day state visit designed to revive the two nations’ bilateral connection after the fallout from Brexit. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 21 Sep. 2023 There’s something on a human level almost poignant — even given the effects Murdoch has had on our nation and the world — about his finally, finally ceding control. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 21 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near nation

Cite this Entry

“Nation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


na·​tion ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio)
: a community of people composed of one or more nationalities usually with its own territory and government
: the territory of a nation

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Na·​tion ˈnā-shən How to pronounce Nation (audio)
Car*ry ˈker-ē How to pronounce Nation (audio)
Amelia 1846–1911 née Moore American temperance agitator

More from Merriam-Webster on nation

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