na·​tion | \ ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio) \

Essential Meaning of nation

1 : a large area of land that is controlled by its own government : country It's one of the richest/poorest nations in the world. the largest state/province in the nation See More Examplesindustrialized/developing nations the United NationsHide
2 : the people who live in a nation The President will speak to the nation tonight. The entire nation is celebrating the victory.
3 : a tribe of Native Americans or a group of Native American tribes that share the same history, traditions, or language the Cheyenne Indian Nation the Navajo Nation

Full Definition of nation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : nationality sense 5a three Slav peoples … forged into a Yugoslavia without really fusing into a Yugoslav nation— Hans Kohn
(2) : a politically organized nationality
(3) in the Bible : a non-Jewish nationality why do the nations conspire — Psalms 2:1 (Revised Standard Version)
b : a community of people composed of one or more nationalities and possessing a more or less defined territory and government Canada is a nation with a written constitution— B. K. Sandwell
c : a territorial division containing a body of people of one or more nationalities and usually characterized by relatively large size and independent status a nation of vast size with a small population— Mary K. Hammond
2 archaic : group, aggregation
3 : a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians) the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma


biographical name
Na·​tion | \ ˈnā-shən How to pronounce Nation (audio) \

Definition of Nation (Entry 2 of 2)

Car*ry \ ˈker-​ē How to pronounce Nation (audio) , ˈka-​rē \ Amelia 1846–1911 née Moore American temperance agitator

Synonyms for nation

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of nation in a Sentence

Noun It's one of the richest nations in the world. the largest state in the nation The President will speak to the nation tonight. The entire nation is celebrating the victory.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The nation’s third-largest school district saw hundreds of thousands of students out of class for three days last week after teachers refused to report for duty due to concerns over the omicron variant. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 10 Jan. 2022 Despite the increased activity, the nation’s lightning in 2021 was below recent averages for the second year in a row. Washington Post, 8 Jan. 2022 The nation’s No. 107 player and No. 19 defensive lineman will announce on Feb. 2. Stephen Means, cleveland, 8 Jan. 2022 Tonight’s matchup features the nation’s top-two shot-blocking teams, with Auburn entering the game averaging 8.1 blocks per contest and Florida sitting at No. 2 with 5.8 blocks per game. Tom Green |, al, 8 Jan. 2022 In fact, the nation’s jobless rate fell to 3.9% in the final month of 2021, sharply lower than the 4.2% in November. Don Lee Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 Jan. 2022 On Sunday, the Terps will host No. 23 Wisconsin and potential Player of the Year candidate Johnny Davis, the nation’s third-leading scorer at 22.3 points per game. Ryan Mcfadden,, 7 Jan. 2022 The nation’s divisiveness on race issues, laid bare by the civil-rights movement, was approaching a fever-pitch just as his career took flight in the late 1950s. R.t. Watson, WSJ, 7 Jan. 2022 At the same time, Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed that the nation’s unemployment rate fell from 4.2% to a healthy 3.9%, evidence that many more people found jobs last month. Christopher Rugaber,, 7 Jan. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nation.' 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 nation


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for nation


Middle English nacioun, from Anglo-French naciun, from Latin nation-, natio birth, race, nation, from nasci to be born; akin to Latin gignere to beget — more at kin

Learn More About nation

Time Traveler for nation

Time Traveler

The first known use of nation was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near nation




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for nation

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for nation


na·​tion | \ ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio) \

Kids Definition of nation

1 : country sense 1 China is a nation I'd like to visit.
2 : a community of people made up of one or more nationalities usually with its own territory and government … here is a race that the whole nation is clamoring for …— Walter Farley, The Black Stallion

More from Merriam-Webster on nation

Nglish: Translation of nation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nation


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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