na·tion | \ ˈnā-shən \

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) : 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 \

Definition of Nation (Entry 2 of 2)

Car*ry \ˈker-ē, ˈka-rē\ Amelia 1846–1911 née Moore American temperance agitator

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Synonyms for nation

Synonyms: Noun

commonwealth, country, land, sovereignty (also sovranty), state

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The team, like the nation, is a global crossroads, a place shaped by hundreds of years of colonial history and migration. Laurent Dubois, The Atlantic, "France’s Ghosts Return for the World Cup," 14 July 2018 Yes, all nations deserve recovery and redemption from a horrid past. The Christian Science Monitor, "Why this World Cup final is like no other," 13 July 2018 The nation has a moral obligation to protect those who protect our communities. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Firefighters protect us. Who protects them?," 13 July 2018 Lilis’ experience meshes with the deal-making frenzy going on as the Permian stays on track to produce more oil than any OPEC nation except Saudi Arabia within five years. Jordan Blum, San Antonio Express-News, "Lilis may be an acquisition target," 13 July 2018 But for all that on-paper enthusiasm, the U.S. remains the only industrialized nation without such a policy. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Sandra Oh, Emmy Nomination, Wimbledon: Broadsheet July 13," 13 July 2018 The sisters later moved to the South American nation of Guyana, to the clearing in the jungle that Jones called Jonestown. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "She woke up in Jonestown — everyone was dead," 13 July 2018 He was named to the watch list for the 2018 Dodd Trophy, recognizing the nation’s top football coach. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Here’s where the media picked TCU in preseason football poll," 12 July 2018 First Watch, which claims to be the nation’s largest daytime-only restaurant chain with 330 restaurants in 29 states, will add a second local location Monday at 6311 Providence Farm Lane, on Providence Road near I-485. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "More million-dollar bacon? Matthews’ brunch favorite adds new spot," 12 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near nation







national anthem

Phrases Related to nation

the United Nations

the nation

Statistics for nation

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nation

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

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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 nation : the people who live in a nation

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 \

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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Comments on nation

What made you want to look up nation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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