res·​er·​va·​tion ˌre-zər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce reservation (audio)
: an act of reserving something: such as
: the act or fact of a grantor's reserving some newly created thing out of the thing granted
: the right or interest so reserved
: the setting of limiting conditions or withholding from complete exposition
answered without reservation
: an arrangement to have something (such as a hotel room) held for one's use
also : a promise, guarantee, or record of such engagement
: a limiting condition
agreed, but with reservations
: doubt, misgiving
had serious reservations about marriage
: something reserved: such as
: a tract of public land set aside (as for use by American Indians)
: an area in which hunting is not permitted
especially : one set aside as a secure breeding place
reservationist noun

Examples of reservation in a Sentence

We made dinner reservations at the restaurant for 6 o'clock. I have a hotel reservation. My only reservation about buying the car was its high price.
Recent Examples on the Web Advertisement Due to the popularity of WOW, many of the shows that required reservations filled up as soon as they were announced last month. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2024 Online reservations for the lot start at $4 per day for travel through May 10 if made before April 14. Tiffani Jackson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5 Apr. 2024 In fact, Airbnb rentals are nearly 90% occupied along the path of totality for the eclipse — and one out of four guests with a reservation the night before the eclipse have booked a stay along its path. Erin Clements, Peoplemag, 5 Apr. 2024 Make a reservation online at Jenna Thompson, Kansas City Star, 5 Apr. 2024 Her campaign is placing a $14 million ad reservation in Nevada, a battleground state that could not only determine the balance of power in the Senate, but also the presidential election. Grace Kazarian, CBS News, 5 Apr. 2024 New travel must be completed within one year of the date of the initial reservation. USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 Prices range from $9 to $19 per plate, and reservations are available until 3 p.m., though brunch runs until 6. Zoe Glasser, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2024 According to more than one thread on Reddit, your chances of booking a reservation even the instant a batch of them is released on Resy, at 9 A.M. each day, are slim to none. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reservation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near reservation

Cite this Entry

“Reservation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


res·​er·​va·​tion ˌrez-ər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce reservation (audio)
: the act of reserving
: an arrangement to have something (as a motel room or a seat on a plane) held for one's use
: something reserved for a special use
especially : an area of public lands so reserved (as for use by American Indians)
: a limiting condition : exception
agree without reservations
: doubt entry 2 sense 1
had reservations about joining the team

Legal Definition


: the act or an instance of reserving
reservation of rights
: the creation by and for a grantor of a new right or interest (as an easement) in real property granted to another
also : the right or interest so created or the clause creating it in a deed compare exception
: public land reserved for a special purpose (as conservation)
: a tract of land reserved for use by an American Indian tribe see also Indian Removal Act of 1830 compare Indian title at title

Note: The federal government has jurisdiction over certain serious felonies committed on American Indian reservations, and a member of a tribe is vested with the rights of an American citizen even if in a tribal court proceeding. Prior to the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, states could obtain civil and criminal jurisdiction over a reservation or other American Indian lands by legislative action, but that Act created the requirement that such jurisdiction be acquired with the consent of the tribe as manifest in an election among tribal adults. This requirement was not retroactive. Federal land claim settlement acts pertaining to particular states have included statutes expressly assigning civil and criminal jurisdiction to the states involved.

More from Merriam-Webster on reservation

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