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 Hard-line Israeli nationalists have been implicated in past attacks on Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Washington Post, "Vandals set fire to mosque in east Jerusalem," 24 Jan. 2020 There had been Jewish nationalists—Zionists after all—going back to the nineteenth century. Thomas Meaney, Harper's magazine, "Trumpism After Trump," 20 Jan. 2020 In India, as in Italy, nationalists and populists enjoy strong popularity. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "“It’s almost like a cry for help”: An Indian poet gets at the heart of protests around the world," 30 Dec. 2019 In theory, an American nationalist should be offended when other countries interfere in our political process, just as they are offended by multilateral trade deals and the presence of refugees. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The President and His Whistleblower," 26 Sep. 2019 The main issue is the difference in the amount of money that the Haredim get.’’ On the secular right, Mr. Lieberman has tapped into a longtime undercurrent in Israeli politics that goes back to the liberal nationalists who founded Likud. Joshua Mitnick, The Christian Science Monitor, "Who will win in Israel Tuesday? Meet the unlikely kingmaker.," 16 Sep. 2019 The nationalist who represents the far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia is supported by 5.9% of voters. Oren Dorell, USA TODAY, "These brave Russian candidates are running against President Putin," 6 Mar. 2018 In India, meanwhile, voters elected prime minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, in 2014 and then again earlier this year. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "The state of global right-wing populism in 2019," 30 Dec. 2019 Narendra Modi, an unabashed Hindu nationalist and for much of his life an ardent activist in the RSS (others are pictured on the previous page), has been dominant as prime minister since 2014. The Economist, "Unite and rule India’s constitution helped sustain the world’s biggest democracy," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In Britain’s general election in December, the territory elected more nationalist members of Parliament, who support reunification with the Republic of Ireland, than unionists, who wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Mark Landler, New York Times, "For the Irish, Varadkar May Have Won Brexit, but He Lost the War at Home," 6 Feb. 2020 The renewables sector has become a casualty of his nationalist push to rejuvenate CFE and bring Mexico’s resources back under control of the state. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "Latin America’s new leftists are choosing oil despite renewables boom," 5 Feb. 2020 Having bought off almost every party save for nationalists and populists, the European Union is, ironically, guaranteeing the very thing it was created to stop: the ascendance of nationalist parties to domination of Europe. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Brexit Matters," 31 Jan. 2020 Posts on his Parler profile show that de Caluwe aligned himself with nationalist, anti-immigration themes. Anna Schecter, NBC News, "Dutch Trump superfan who claimed he surveilled Ambassador Yovanovitch told people he was DEA," 29 Jan. 2020 Skirmishes, if not outright wars, will result over arable land and dwindling fresh-water reserves, and mass migration from the parched climates around the Equator will provoke nationalist backlashes in the habitable parts of the world. Harrison Stetler, The New York Review of Books, "‘Collapsologie’: Constructing an Idea of How Things Fall Apart," 21 Jan. 2020 The development of the Cold War and the successive revelations about domestic Communists seemed to have vindicated Franklin Roosevelt’s nationalist opponents in the minds of many people. John Lukacs, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Right," 20 Jan. 2020 Tensions are rising in India after Hindu nationalist lawmakers passed a new citizenship act widely seen as discriminating against the nation’s 200 million Muslims. National Geographic, "What are the best photos of the decade?," 27 Dec. 2019 Zelenskiy also discovered that, although his efforts to achieve a mutual troop pullback in eastern Ukraine were approved by 59% of Ukrainians, nationalist combat veterans were fiercely opposed to anything that looked like a Ukrainian retreat. Leonid Bershidsky, Twin Cities, "Leonid Bershidsky: Ukraine’s Zelenskiy showed he’s the anti-Putin in 2019," 26 Dec. 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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nationalist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 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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