na·​tion·​al·​ist | \ˈnash-nə-list, ˈna-shə-nə-list\

Definition of nationalist 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an advocate of or believer in nationalism

2 : a member of a political party or group advocating national independence or strong national government



Definition of nationalist (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or advocating nationalism

2 : of, relating to, or being a political group advocating or associated with nationalism

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Synonyms & Antonyms for nationalist

Synonyms: Noun

chauvinist, flag-waver, jingo

Synonyms: Adjective

nationalistic, patriotic

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of nationalist in a Sentence


a staunch nationalist who favored any policy that would give the country more power in the international arena


The country's Nationalist Party won the election. a nationalist rant against the immigrants supposedly flooding the country
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This explains why there has never been a linguistic nationalist secessionist movement among China’s Han majority throughout its history. Nikita Lalwani, Washington Post, "When is nationalism a good thing? When it unites an ethnically diverse citizenry," 26 June 2018 The president, who has investments in India and sees its prime minister, Narendra Modi, as a kindred nationalist, may even have a soft spot for the country. The Economist, "The Indian-American underachiever," 28 June 2018 Torra is a fervent Catalan nationalist and was hand picked by former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to succeed him. Joseph Wilson,, "With a new Spanish leader, what's next for Catalonia?," 2 June 2018 Al-Sadr has long positioned himself as an independent nationalist, a foe of both Iran and the US, both of which have sought to influence Iraq's trajectory since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Nicole Gaouette, CNN, "Iraqi election makes US foe al-Sadr a potential kingmaker," 16 May 2018 The fact that Bolton is a radical nationalist rather than a neoconservative puts him in closer alignment with his new boss. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Scarier Than a Neoconserative," 23 Mar. 2018 But the president is, first and foremost, a fantasist — one who cares more about projecting the image of himself as an economic nationalist than about implementing policies that benefit American exporters. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Bids Goodbye to Gary Cohn – And Empirical Reality," 7 Mar. 2018 While most of Macedonia’s people are Slavs or ethnic Albanians in descent and language — the nationalists presented themselves as the heirs of Alexander’s Greek-speaking countrymen. Washington Post, "AP Explains: What the Greek-Macedonian name deal is about," 13 June 2018 The turning point came Thursday afternoon when the Basque nationalists agreed to join Catalan separatist lawmakers in voting against Mr. Rajoy. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, Is Ousted in No-Confidence Vote," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As things stand, Mr. Erdoğan’s victory signals another hyper-nationalist, authoritarian turn. Monitor Editors, The Christian Science Monitor, "Troubled by the US Supreme Court’s upholding of Trump’s travel ban, Erdoğan’s reelection tilts toward authoritarianism, Why a stable Turkey is important, Ukraine has come a long way since Russia’s invasion, ‘Standard of living’ or ‘standard of life’?," 14 July 2018 In a visit to Poland a year ago, the U.S. president hailed the country as a bulwark of Western civilization, which some critics interpreted as a ringing endorsement of the same populist-nationalist style that helped propel Trump to power. Laura King,, "Poland sees opportunity and peril in NATO summit and Trump-Putin meeting," 9 July 2018 Many of its propaganda tools merely aped the sorts of chauvinist and ethno-nationalist sentiment that Mr Trump and other right-wing politicians have long used to charge up their base. The Economist, "The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki," 5 July 2018 The survey found that Swedes were the least likely to express nationalist, anti-migrant and anti-minority views, while Italians were the most likely. Kirsten Grieshaber, Fox News, "Study: Christians in west Europe less tolerant of immigrants," 29 May 2018 Some on the religious-nationalist right want to see a new Third Temple built on the site. Michael Schwartz And James Masters, CNN, "David Friedman photograph sparks Jerusalem controversy," 23 May 2018 The League, which has a nationalist, anti-migrant platform, has been a junior partner in previous governments, but never under its current leader, Matteo Salvini. Eric J. Lyman, USA TODAY, "Giuseppe Conte could be Italy's next prime minister, but questions swirl about his résumé," 22 May 2018 Once again raising the specter of the BJP's violent Hindu-nationalist roots, the report assesses responsibility for the 1992 destruction of the Babri mosque by Hindu radicals. Newsweek, "Amazing Photos of Bioluminescent Phytoplankton," 14 Mar. 2018 In a separate case, FIFA fined Serbia's federation for a second time at the World Cup for fans displaying a Chetnik banner celebrating a World War II nationalist group. Graham Dunbar,, "FIFA fines Russia for neo-Nazi fan banner at World Cup game," 30 June 2018

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


1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for nationalist

The first known use of nationalist was in 1715

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More Definitions for nationalist



English Language Learners Definition of nationalist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a supporter of or believer in nationalism

: a member of a political group that wants to form a separate and independent nation



English Language Learners Definition of nationalist (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to nationalism

: of or relating to a political group that wants to form a separate and independent nation


na·​tion·​al·​ist | \ˈna-shə-nə-list \

Kids Definition of nationalist

: a person who believes that his or her country is better and more important than other countries

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Comments on nationalist

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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