na·​tion·​al·​i·​ty ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce nationality (audio)
plural nationalities
: national character
the nationality of Ireland is in her songs and in her stories, and in her chronicles and in her traditionW. B. Yeats
: national status
specifically : a legal relationship involving allegiance on the part of an individual and usually protection on the part of the state
nationality bestowed by birth
: membership in a particular nation
Vietnamese nationality
: political independence or existence as a separate nation
: a people having a common origin, tradition, and language and capable of forming or actually constituting a nation-state
The diverse nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire desired independence.
: an ethnic group constituting one element of a larger unit (such as a nation)
The country is home to five nationalities.

Example Sentences

The country is home to five nationalities and seven languages. people of all races and nationalities She's American, but her parents are of Japanese nationality. He has held French nationality for the past 20 years. The university has students of over 50 nationalities.
Recent Examples on the Web The #OscarsSoWhite outcries from 2015 and 2016, prompted by all-white slates of acting nominees, continue to reverberate at the academy, which has been trying to diversify its membership by race, gender and nationality. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2023 Music has no national boundaries, but musicians have a nationality. Billboard China, Billboard, 6 Mar. 2023 Some drivers with dual citizenship race under a different nationality, like Alex Albon, who has a Thai license. Janaya Wecker, Popular Mechanics, 28 Feb. 2023 Production took place entirely within the Philippines and the film is considered to have Philippines nationality. Patrick Frater, Variety, 19 Feb. 2023 The study’s authors added that the actions described in the report are a violation of the Geneva Convention — which prohibits the change of a child’s personal status, including nationality — and may constitute a war crime or crimes against humanity. Abigail Williams, NBC News, 14 Feb. 2023 Mr Varadkar also said that EU leaders would be discussing how to respond to an increase in migration from outside Europe, and how to return those who aren't granted asylum to their country of nationality., 9 Feb. 2023 In 2016, then-President François Hollande finally granted 28 former tirailleurs French nationality. Colette Davidson, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Jan. 2023 Love in a dangerous, unstable universe where questions of nationality and betrayal predominate. Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nationality.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nationality was in 1691

Dictionary Entries Near nationality

Cite this Entry

“Nationality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Kids Definition


na·​tion·​al·​i·​ty ˌnash-(ə-)ˈnal-ət-ē How to pronounce nationality (audio)
plural nationalities
: the fact or state of belonging to a nation
a person of French nationality
: political independence as a nation
: a people having a common beginning, tradition, or language

More from Merriam-Webster on nationality

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