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

Definition of nation

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

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 Today, no nation in Africa spends more than 2% of its gross domestic product on health and very few high-income countries are close to their 0.7% targets. Muhammad Ali Pate And Michelle A. Williams, STAT, 9 May 2022 Rural counties, referring to those that lie beyond U.S. metropolitan areas, account for nearly 70% of the nation’s land area. Aaron Zitner, WSJ, 8 May 2022 For the most part, at least for now, as the nation nears the millionth death, the pandemic feels like a thing of the past in Tuolumne County. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2022 The situation is more complicated than in other states because Oregon's public defender system is the only one in the nation that relies entirely on contractors, Mosher said. Gillian Flaccus, ajc, 8 May 2022 The Biden administration is issuing a new warning that the US could potentially see 100 million Covid-19 infections this fall and winter, as officials publicly stress the need for more funding from Congress to prepare the nation. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 8 May 2022 By then, top Soviet officials, reeling from the nuclear accident in Chernobyl and a devastating earthquake in Armenia, realized the nation needed a professional disaster response agency. Washington Post, 8 May 2022 The announcement came late Friday, after a general strike closed shops and businesses across the South Asian island nation. New York Times, 7 May 2022 Relatively speaking, the Maldives haven’t been on the vacation radar—at least with US travelers—for that long, but the archipelago nation has made up for that in the last decade or so with a near-constant stream of eye-catching resort openings. Sandra Ramani, Robb Report, 7 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for nation


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

Nation biographical name

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

Definition of Nation

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

More from Merriam-Webster on nation

Nglish: Translation of nation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nation


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