na·tion·al·i·ty | \ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē, ˌnash-ˈna-\
plural nationalities

Definition of nationality 

1 : national character the nationality of Ireland is in her songs and in her stories, and in her chronicles and in her tradition— W. B. Yeats

3a : 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

b : membership in a particular nation Vietnamese nationality

4 : political independence or existence as a separate nation

5a : 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.

b : an ethnic group constituting one element of a larger unit (such as a nation) The country is home to five nationalities.

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Synonyms for nationality


ethnicity, nation, race

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Examples of nationality in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The countries are teeming with adventurers of all ages, sizes, and nationalities who come to hike, bike, scuba dive, skydive, bungee jump, paraglide, parasail, zip line, or otherwise test their fitness, nerve, and dexterity. Rick Warner,, "Trying out all the adventures Australia and New Zealand have to offer," 12 June 2018 Latin Americans tend to think of themselves not in terms of race but nationality. John Blake, CNN, "The blurring of racial lines won't save America. Why 'racial fluidity' is a con," 11 June 2018 Coach Ek and three of the boys have no nationality. John Bacon, ajc, "WATCH: Video shows rescued Thai soccer players flashing victory sign from hospital beds," 12 July 2018 Coach Ek and three of the boys have no nationality. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "How 100 heroes came together to rescue 12 boys and their coach from the Thailand cave," 11 July 2018 Federal law and international treaties require the U.S. to consider if people should be granted asylum for fear of persecuted back home on grounds of race, religion, nationality or political affiliation. CBS News, "Asylum seekers wait days and weeks at U.S.-Mexico border," 7 June 2018 The official said Sunday the assailant had French nationality but was born in the Russian republic. Fox News, "Officials: Paris attacker born in Chechnya; parents detained," 13 May 2018 The official said the assailant, born in 1997, had French nationality but was born in the largely Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya, where extremism has long simmered. Angela Charlton,, "Authorities were keeping an eye on Paris attacker," 13 May 2018 The assailant obtained French nationality in 2010, the Interior Ministry spokesman said. Elaine Ganley, The Seattle Times, "French police question parents, friend of Paris attacker," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nationality.' 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 nationality

1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for nationality

The first known use of nationality was in 1691

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English Language Learners Definition of nationality

: a group of people who share the same history, traditions, and language, and who usually live together in a particular country

: the fact or status of being a member or citizen of a particular nation


na·tion·al·i·ty | \ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē \
plural nationalities

Kids Definition of nationality

1 : the fact or state of belonging to a particular country

2 : the state of being a separate country

3 : a group of people having a common history, tradition, culture, or language

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Comments on nationality

What made you want to look up nationality? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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