na·​tion ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio)
: nationality sense 5a
three Slav peoples … forged into a Yugoslavia without really fusing into a Yugoslav nationHans Kohn
: a politically organized nationality
in the Bible : a non-Jewish nationality
why do the nations conspirePsalms 2:1 (Revised Standard Version)
: 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 constitutionB. K. Sandwell
: 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 populationMary K. Hammond
archaic : group, aggregation
: a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians)
the Seminole Nation in Oklahoma

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Smoke from Canadian wildfires poured into the U.S. East Coast and Midwest on Wednesday, covering the capitals of both nations in an unhealthy haze, holding up flights at major airports, postponing Major League Baseball games and prompting people to fish out pandemic-era face masks. Jennifer Peltz And Rob Gillies, ajc, 8 June 2023 This exclusivity is owed to a first-of-its-kind partnership between Natural Selection and the BaTawana nation — who have stewarded the land since the late 18th century (the camp takes its name from the nation's current ruler). Brad Japhe, Travel + Leisure, 6 June 2023 Those and previous incidents have raised concerns about a possible accident occurring that could lead to an escalation between the two nations at a time when tensions are already high. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 4 June 2023 The Fool responds: The debt ceiling is a limit, imposed by Congress, on how much outstanding debt our nation can have. The Motley Fool, Dallas News, 4 June 2023 The acting prime minister, Ariel Henry, appealed last year for outside intervention, but efforts by the United States and other nations to mount an international contingent have stalled, largely because no country wants to lead it. Andre Paultre, New York Times, 3 June 2023 Welcome to National Doughnut Day—a nightmare for dieticians but a breakfast food even the most divided of nations can agree upon. Bychris Morris, Fortune, 2 June 2023 The change means nations can now apply lower tax rates to some goods. Diana Baptista, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 June 2023 That statistic is especially sobering considering that American women were more than 20 times more likely to be killed by firearms compared to women in other high-income nations in 2015, according to a 2019 comparative study published in Preventative Medicine. Kelly Heinzerling, ABC News, 2 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near nation

Cite this Entry

“Nation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


na·​tion ˈnā-shən How to pronounce nation (audio)
: a community of people composed of one or more nationalities usually with its own territory and government
: the territory of a nation

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Na·​tion ˈnā-shən How to pronounce Nation (audio)
Car*ry ˈker-ē How to pronounce Nation (audio)
Amelia 1846–1911 née Moore American temperance agitator

More from Merriam-Webster on nation

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