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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The victims were of multiple nationalities, with the youngest being 25-year-old Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha. Britt Clennett, ABC News, 3 Apr. 2024 The proliferation of the American ship and flag — used by slavers of all nationalities — in the illicit commerce soon provoked alarm among diplomats. Rafael Vilela, Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2024 And with the help of– of locals, not only Israeli but other nationalities. Nbc Universal, NBC News, 17 Mar. 2024 Under the new Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, the government immediately enacted a law requiring all women to wear a veil outside the home, regardless of their religion or nationality. Lila MacLellan, Fortune, 18 Mar. 2024 The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security declined to provide figures on how that compared with other nationalities. Cate Cadell, Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2024 The United States is trying to prove to the people of the world of every nationality, race and color that a free democracy is the most civilized and most secure form of government yet devised by man. Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2024 The report lists the seat number, gender and nationality of the passengers. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 26 Feb. 2024 Eight people have been rescued so far but their conditions, as well as the nationalities of the passengers involved, are currently unknown. Jon Haworth, ABC News, 29 Jan. 2024

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 14 Apr. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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