na·​tion·​al·​ist | \ ˈnash-nə-list How to pronounce nationalist (audio) , 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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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And as the show reveals, Welsh nationalists were not in favor of an English prince taking the title. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Crown Season 3: The True Story of Prince Charles’s Younger Years," 7 Dec. 2019 The new, revolutionary nationalists in Turkey wanted their own race-nation of Turks. John Broich, The Conversation, "Why there is no Kurdish nation," 6 Nov. 2019 A few hundred people, mostly nationalists, protested the deal outside the presidential administration in Kyiv on Tuesday night and on Independence Square, known as the Maidan, that was the scene of the pro-Western protests six years ago. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Europe praises Ukraine deal, but opposition sees a betrayal," 2 Oct. 2019 Both are nationalists with little interest in the outside world and would rather the outside world reciprocated. The Economist, "Bello The surprising similarities between AMLO and Jair Bolsonaro," 5 Dec. 2019 Like those younger politicians, Mr. Nakasone was an ardent nationalist., "Yasuhiro Nakasone, the former prime minister who entered politics during the post-World War II American occupation of Japan and spent the rest of his career championing the re-emergence of a more assertive and independent nation, died Friday. He was 101.," 1 Dec. 2019 Like those younger politicians, Mr. Nakasone was an ardent nationalist. New York Times, "Yasuhiro Nakasone, Assertive Prime Minister of Japan, Dies at 101," 28 Nov. 2019 Victorian statesman Lord Palmerston was an open nationalist like Trump. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "The Problem with Trump’s ‘Normandy Doctrine’," 11 Oct. 2019 Far from ascendant, liberalism seemed in retreat: Autocrats tightened their fists; nationalists and xenophobes edged into the political mainstream; great power competition made its return on the geopolitical stage. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "A year of protests caps a decade of crisis and anger," 20 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Protesters say that by granting citizenship to these communities but discriminating against Muslims, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government is undermining India’s secular constitution. Nilanjana Bhowmick/new Delhi, Time, "Why This Indian State Is Witnessing the Country's Most Violent Anti Citizenship-Law Protests," 1 Jan. 2020 In India, new citizenship rules that discriminate against Muslims deepened fears that the country, under its Hindu nationalist government, is crafting a Hindu republic. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "From Sudan to Hong Kong to Chile, what it was like to be one of the protesters of 2019," 28 Dec. 2019 The ongoing backlash against the law marks the strongest show of dissent against the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he was first elected in 2014., "Death toll rises to 23 in clashes over India’s new citizenship law," 21 Dec. 2019 The Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by the country's parliament on Wednesday, has been described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government as a means of protecting vulnerable groups from persecution. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Indian military deployed and internet shut down as protests rage against citizenship bill," 12 Dec. 2019 Between 1,500 and 2,000 migrants tried to illegally cross the border between France and Italy during a three-month period that winter, fueling both humanitarian efforts to help them and calls by nationalist politicians for a crackdown. Washington Post, "French courts face touchy test: Is helping migrants a crime?," 21 Nov. 2019 Modi’s Hindu nationalist government imposed a sweeping military curfew and cut off residents in the Muslim-majority region from virtually all communications. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pakistan PM warns of ‘bloodbath’ in Kashmir; India PM silent," 27 Sep. 2019 Why is Emmanuel Macron thought to be the leader of liberal Europe against various illiberal challenges — from Brexit to Donald Trump on one side, and broadly populist nationalist governments in Poland and Budapest? Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Isn’t Macron an Illiberal Pinup?," 26 Sep. 2019 But critics say that under Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, human rights, including religious freedom, are endangered. Houston Chronicle, "Modi, Trump and protesters converge on Houston’s NRG Stadium," 22 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for nationalist

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The first known use of nationalist was in 1715

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nationalist.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for nationalist


How to pronounce nationalist (audio)

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 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

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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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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