noun na·tion·al·i·ty \ ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē , ˌnash-ˈna- \
|Updated on: 1 Aug 2018

Definition of nationality

plural nationalities
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
2 : nationalism 1
3 a : 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
5 a : 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.

Examples of nationality in a Sentence

  1. The country is home to five nationalities and seven languages.

  2. people of all races and nationalities

  3. She's American, but her parents are of Japanese nationality.

  4. He has held French nationality for the past 20 years.

  5. The university has students of over 50 nationalities.

Recent Examples of nationality from the Web

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.

First Known Use of nationality


in the meaning defined at sense 1

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nationality Synonyms


ethnicity, nation, race;

Related Words


clan, family, folk, house, kindred, tribe;

NATIONALITY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of nationality for English Language Learners

  • : 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

NATIONALITY Defined for Kids


noun na·tion·al·i·ty \ ˌna-shə-ˈna-lə-tē \

Definition of nationality for Students

plural nationalities
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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resembling the blue of the sky

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