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

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 The anti-Erdogan camp used to be composed of disparate groups, including Turkish and Kurdish nationalists, seculars and even some Islamists. Soner Cagaptay, Time, "Four Things to Watch in Turkey's Elections," 21 June 2018 Peter Sheridan of Co-operation Ireland, a peace-promoting group, says talk of controls between north and south instantly upsets nationalists; mention of checks between the north and the British mainland does the same for unionists. The Economist, "Theresa May’s Irish stew," 24 May 2018 AfD has 252 lawmakers across the country’s assemblies, ranging from economic liberals to anti-Islam nationalists. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "German Antimigrant Party Argues Over Makeover Effort," 10 May 2018 During the pro-Western revolution in Ukraine in 2014, which included radical nationalists, Russian media warned of imminent violence against Russian speakers and Crimea's more than 2 million residents. Anton Troianovski,, "Crimea's propaganda machine fans fear in closing days of Putin's campaign," 16 Mar. 2018 But as populist-nationalist Steve Mnuchin reminded the out-of-touch media Thursday, real Americans love it when the global superrich retreat to the Alps for orgies and TED Talks (while the middle class grows another day older and deeper in debt). Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Mnuchin: Davos Is Not ‘a Hangout for Globalists’," 11 Jan. 2018 The Belfast attacks came after days of street violence in Northern Ireland's second city Londonderry, which police blamed on militant Irish nationalists opposed to a 1998 peace deal that Adams helped to broker. NBC News, "Explosive thrown at house of former Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Citing the law, a fringe nationalist group asked prosecutors to investigate if Israeli President Reuven Rivlin broke the law during a speech in Poland. Wojciech Moskwa,, "Poland Softens Holocaust Law That Caused an International Outcry," 27 June 2018 Simicska’s outlets were often considered friendly to the Jobbik party, a former radical nationalist group that moved toward the political center. Zoltan Simon,, "Hungary opposition paper, radio to shut down after Orban win," 10 Apr. 2018 And former deputy White House aide Sebastian Gorka, who faced an arrest warrant in Hungary for weapons charges and questions about his ties to a controversial Hungarian nationalist group during his time in the White House. Philip Elliott, Time, "President Trump Promised to 'Hire the Best People.' Rob Porter Is Just the Latest Red Flag," 12 Feb. 2018 But Kahn’s nationalist agenda was offensive to many and clearly racist by today’s standards. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF Supes committee favors renaming Julius Kahn Playground, citing his racism," 23 May 2018 The government has also been channeling significant funds to research institutes seen as backing its nationalist agenda. Kata Karáth, Science | AAAS, "Hungarian scientists are on edge as country is poised to force out top university," 10 May 2018 Instead, Poland’s nationalist government appears set to accelerate its clash with Brussels, which worries the country is removing one of the few checks on the ruling party’s power and shifting towards authoritarian populism. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Poland Steps Up Supreme Court Purge," 13 July 2018 Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government came to power in 2014, there has been an increasing effort to bring more elements of the religion into daily life. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, "Goa’s agriculture minister wants farmers to use ‘cosmic farming’ instead of fertilizer," 4 July 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

7 Oct 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).


not any or not one

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