noun res·er·va·tion \ ˌre-zər-ˈvā-shən \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of reservation

1 : an act of reserving something: such as
a (1) : the act or fact of a grantor's reserving some newly created thing out of the thing granted
(2) : the right or interest so reserved
b : the setting of limiting conditions or withholding from complete exposition
  • answered without reservation
c : an arrangement to have something (such as a hotel room) held for one's use; also : a promise, guarantee, or record of such engagement
2 a : a limiting condition
  • agreed, but with reservations
b : doubt, misgiving
  • had serious reservations about marriage
3 : something reserved: such as
a : a tract of public land set aside (as for use by American Indians)
b : an area in which hunting is not permitted; especially : one set aside as a secure breeding place


play \ˌre-zər-ˈvā-sh(ə-)nist\ noun

Examples of reservation in a Sentence

  1. We made dinner reservations at the restaurant for 6 o'clock.

  2. I have a hotel reservation.

  3. My only reservation about buying the car was its high price.

Recent Examples of reservation from the Web

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

First Known Use of reservation

15th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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RESERVATION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of reservation for English Language Learners

  • : an arrangement to have something (such as a room, table, or seat) held for your use at a later time

  • : a feeling of doubt or uncertainty about something

  • : an area of land in the U.S. that is kept separate as a place for Native Americans to live

RESERVATION Defined for Kids


noun res·er·va·tion \ ˌre-zər-ˈvā-shən \

Definition of reservation for Students

1 : an act of setting something aside for future use
2 : an arrangement to have something (as seating in a restaurant) held for someone's use
3 : something (as land) set aside for a special use
  • a wildlife reservation
4 : an area of land set aside for American Indians to live
5 : something that limits
  • I can't agree without reservations.

Law Dictionary


noun res·er·va·tion

legal Definition of reservation

1 : the act or an instance of reserving
  • reservation of rights
2 : 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
3 a : public land reserved for a special purpose (as conservation)
b : 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.

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very hard to disturb or upset

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