na·​tion·​al·​ize | \ ˈnash-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce nationalize (audio) , ˈna-shə-nə-ˌlīz \
nationalized; nationalizing

Definition of nationalize

transitive verb

1 : to give a national character to
2 : to invest control or ownership of in the national government

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from nationalize

nationalization \ ˌnash-​nə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce nationalization (audio) , ˌna-​shə-​nə-​lə-​ \ noun
nationalizer \ ˈnash-​nə-​ˌlī-​zər How to pronounce nationalizer (audio) , ˌna-​shə-​nə-​ˌlī-​zər \ noun

Examples of nationalize in a Sentence

The government nationalized the health-care system in the mid-1950s. nationalizing the country's oil supply
Recent Examples on the Web Democrats have authored a competing police reform measure that goes much further to nationalize reforms and increase accountability. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Partisan gridlock looms ahead of critical Senate vote on police reform," 23 June 2020 Italy is expected to nationalize its carrier, Alitalia, which has run years of losses. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "How Europe’s low-cost airlines are surviving the pandemic without billion-dollar bailouts," 15 June 2020 The bloody 1980s war with Iraq saw Iran further nationalize its economy. Nasser Karmi, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Iranian stocks are up 225% this year," 19 May 2020 That wasn’t the case for ABN Amro Bank NV, a Dutch lender nationalized during the 2008 financial crisis that is once again licking its wounds. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "Bank Resurrected During Financial Crisis Takes Fresh Hits From Coronavirus and Oil," 13 May 2020 But there have been concerns from the earliest days of this pandemic that countries that are home to vaccine production facilities will nationalize any output to ensure domestic needs are met before vaccine can be exported for use elsewhere. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Mounting promises on Covid-19 vaccines are fueling false expectations, experts say," 6 May 2020 That simple reality is why so many partisans have abandoned their market philosophies and now plead with President Donald Trump to nationalize industries that can produce equipment that will protect Americans on the front lines. Phillip Morris, cleveland, "Coronavirus isn’t the only deadly virus confronting our planet: Phillip Morris," 5 Apr. 2020 Some will outright nationalize, some will take equity stakes, some will provide loans, and others will choose to regulate. Kevin Sneader, Fortune, "3 changes businesses will need to adapt to post-coronavirus," 1 May 2020 The aid infusion falls short of nationalizing the company, in which the French and Dutch states each own a 14 percent share. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "Air France-KLM Gets €10 Billion Bailout as Coronavirus Hits Travel," 25 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nationalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nationalize

1799, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nationalize

Time Traveler for nationalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of nationalize was in 1799

See more words from the same year

Statistics for nationalize

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nationalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nationalize


How to pronounce nationalize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nationalize

: to cause (something) to be under the control of a national government


na·​tion·​al·​ize | \ ˈna-shə-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce nationalize (audio) \
nationalized; nationalizing

Kids Definition of nationalize

: to place under government control


transitive verb
na·​tion·​al·​ize | \ ˈna-shə-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce nationalize (audio) \
nationalized; nationalizing

Legal Definition of nationalize

: to invest control or ownership of in the national government

More from Merriam-Webster on nationalize

Spanish Central: Translation of nationalize

Nglish: Translation of nationalize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on nationalize

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!