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 Henley and Partners, which advises people on how to acquire a spare nationality, says inquiries from Africa are up by a third compared with last year. The Economist, "Travel trouble Wealthy Africans are shopping for foreign passports," 27 June 2020 But Darrell’s passing also propels me toward love, inspiring me to chat up strangers, speak up for the helpless, and use my voice and my writing to make others, whatever their color or culture or nationality, feel seen. Donna Britt, Washington Post, "My brother was killed by police. Now I ask, who does George Floyd belong to?," 26 June 2020 New arrivals into the U.K., regardless of their nationality, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. NBC News, "Drive-thru art gallery opens in airport parking garage," 8 June 2020 As a killer, the coronavirus is an equalizer with no discrimination whatsoever for color, creed, gender, culture, status, occupation or nationality. Uma Majmudar, ajc, "Lifting one another up during difficult times," 4 June 2020 Immunity passports could compound existing gender, racial and nationality inequalities, according to a study published Monday in The Lancet medical journal. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Antibody tests could lead to job discrimination and encourage workers to play 'Russian roulette'," 12 May 2020 Still, while Brits vocalized their opposition to lifting restrictions in higher numbers, their behavior doesn’t appear to differ much from other nationalities. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "British people are the most supportive of lockdown measures, a global survey shows," 30 Apr. 2020 The festival was supposed to celebrate its 10th anniversary last month with an exhibition of 45 photographers representing 16 nationalities. Michael Hardy, Wired, "An Online Exhibition Celebrates Photography's Rising Stars," 30 Apr. 2020 Trump is the first president to successfully ban immigration based on an immigrants’ nationality. Aldia Staff, Dallas News, "Can Trump really just end immigration?," 21 Apr. 2020

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

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nationality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce nationality (audio)

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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