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 Fears of diminishing fortunes in Britain have been amplified by the possibility that the nation could crash out of the European Union at the end of the year — completing the tortuous process of Brexit — absent a deal governing future trade. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Europe’s Economic Recovery Is a Summer Memory," 10 Oct. 2020 At a time when the nation is reeling from the spread of a virus that's claimed more than 210,000 U.S. lives and infected more than 7 million people, including Trump and much of the White House, Slavitt's profile is on the rise. James Walsh, Star Tribune, "Minnesota's Andy Slavitt: An influential voice on COVID-19," 9 Oct. 2020 Only 33 daysaway from a highly contentious election, the diagnosis plunged the nation into uncertainty. Monique Brouillette, Scientific American, "Trump’s COVID Case Could Be Entering a Crucial Stage," 9 Oct. 2020 Even as the nation has been plunged into immiseration, the titans of the health insurance industry have been absolutely rolling in it this year, in the style of Scrooge McDuck backstroking around his infinity pool on an ocean of coin. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Pandemic Has Been Great for the Health Insurance Industry," 9 Oct. 2020 His second will come in his hometown with the nation watching. Rod Walker,, "Chargers WR Tyron Johnson, ex-Warren Easton standout, returns to Superdome after dazzling NFL debut," 9 Oct. 2020 In accordance with state and local health guidelines, the hydration nation filtered water stations will not be available. Ben Flanagan |, al, "Auburn fan guide for 2020 home game against Arkansas," 9 Oct. 2020 That’s the sixth-highest rate in the United States and stems from the nation’s third-largest jump in uninsured rates for children between 2016 and 2019. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Report: Utah’s rate of uninsured kids is 6th highest in the nation," 9 Oct. 2020 Kaplan said the nation needs to get through the pandemic before leaders start worrying about the federal deficit and spending. Brandon Lingle,, "Another round of stimulus crucial to economic recovery, Dallas Fed chief Kaplan warns," 9 Oct. 2020

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

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for nation


How to pronounce Nation (audio)

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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