na·​tion·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce nationality (audio) , 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


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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 Murrieta was also an attorney for the LeBaron family who lost nine of its members with dual Mexican and American nationality in late 2019 in a region of northern Mexico known for widespread organized crime presence. Rafael Romo, CNN, 5 June 2021 Yang Hengjun, a novelist and former Chinese official who gave up his nationality and immigrated to Australia, was detained in early 2019 after taking a flight from New York to Guangzhou. Washington Post, 27 May 2021 Austria, like other governments with citizens in similar predicaments, is hampered by the fact that Iran does not recognise dual nationality. Dominic Dudley, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Revelations about the use of dual nationality data by tax officials trying to identify child benefit fraudsters has also helped push inequality issues into the mainstream. Mike Corder, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Mar. 2021 Once Britain leaves the EU’s economic embrace at 11 p.m. (2300GMT) on Thursday, Britons will lose the automatic right to live and work in the 27 EU countries, but those with dual nationality will still be able to do so. Fox News, 1 Jan. 2021 The Citywide Immunization Registry does not require tracking by nationality, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Anna Sturla, CNN, 7 May 2021 This is true of her use of speculative storytelling elements, as well as her incorporation of issues of ethnicity, class, and nationality., 6 May 2021 Her photo had been uploaded onto her agent’s account, which was examined by The Washington Post, along with personal details such as her weight, nationality and date of birth. Washington Post, 5 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for nationality

Time Traveler

The first known use of nationality was in 1691

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Statistics for nationality

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nationality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for nationality



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


na·​tion·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce nationality (audio) \
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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