na·​tion·​al·​ist | \ ˈnash-nə-list How to pronounce nationalist (audio) , ˈna-shə-nə-list \
plural nationalists

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

— compare black nationalist, white nationalist



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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Examples of nationalist in a Sentence

Noun a staunch nationalist who favored any policy that would give the country more power in the international arena Adjective The country's Nationalist Party won the election. a nationalist rant against the immigrants supposedly flooding the country
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Critics fear a threat to democracy under Le Pen, a nationalist who is cozy with Hungary’s autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orban, and anti-immigrant far-right parties elsewhere in Europe. Elaine Ganley, USA TODAY, 23 Apr. 2022 Critics fear a threat to democracy under Le Pen, a nationalist who is cozy with Hungary’s autocratic prime minister, Viktor Orban, and anti-immigrant far-right parties elsewhere in Europe. Elaine Ganley, ajc, 22 Apr. 2022 The yield on France’s 10-year bonds rose to a seven-year high last week on concerns at the prospect of a nationalist with longstanding sympathies for Russia taking power in the middle of the Ukraine war. Fortune, 10 Apr. 2022 Following this logic to its conclusion, the Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose escaped British house arrest in Bengal and fled to Hitler’s Germany. Daniel Immerwahr, The Atlantic, 4 Apr. 2022 Early on, Maréchal established a reputation not only as a nationalist but also as a Catholic. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 Harris' meeting with the hard-right nationalist may make for an awkward diplomatic moment, given that the US has rejected Poland's offer to supply the jets -- which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, 10 Mar. 2022 The reality is that Putin’s image of a conservative restorer is a political narrative in the same way former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic reinvented himself from a communist apparatchik to a firebrand Serbian nationalist. Joseph S. Laughon, National Review, 2 Mar. 2022 And to him, as a great-power nationalist, that really means a world without a powerful Russia. Tarik Cyril Amar, Time, 4 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The staying power of populist and nationalist groups across Europe has shown that these forces don’t necessarily need to win elections in order to see their aims through. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, 25 Apr. 2022 Such rhetoric, though, has done little to assuage his nationalist base. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2022 He was also expected to win re-election after rallying his nationalist and pro-Russian base by refusing to join the European Union in imposing sanctions on Russia. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 Mass right-wing movements buoyed by a populist or nationalist mentality do sporadically appear in the U.S., but the ideals of classical republicanism linger in both American hearts and foundational documents, like the U.S. Constitution. WSJ, 25 Jan. 2022 But so far, this has proven to be a thorny question for the nationalist government in Warsaw. Hanna Kozlowska, The New Republic, 13 Apr. 2022 But one person could greatly complicate the EU's plan: Hungary’s far-right nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who swept to victory in elections on Sunday, clinching his fourth term in office. Vivienne Walt, Fortune, 5 Apr. 2022 Hungary's hard-line nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared victory in the country's Sunday elections after a partial vote count showed his right-wing party with a significant lead. Harold Maass, The Week, 4 Apr. 2022 The Hindi-language film has been given a tax break and is being heavily championed by the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been urging people to go watch it. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, 30 Mar. 2022 See More

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


1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1884, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of nationalist was in 1849

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nationalist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for nationalist


na·​tion·​al·​ist | \ ˈna-shə-nə-list How to pronounce nationalist (audio) \

Kids Definition of nationalist

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

More from Merriam-Webster on nationalist

Nglish: Translation of nationalist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nationalist for Arabic Speakers


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