res·​er·​va·​tion | \ˌre-zər-ˈvā-shən \

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

2a : 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

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Other Words from reservation

reservationist \ ˌre-​zər-​ˈvā-​sh(ə-​)nist \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Will Tesla indicate what net reservations currently are? Bloomberg,, "Musk declares Tesla 'just became a real car company.' But can it keep building Model 3 vehicles at this pace?," 2 July 2018 Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah were affected, as were Native American reservations. Dan Elliott, The Christian Science Monitor, "EPA announces plan to clean up Colorado mines," 15 June 2018 Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were affected, as were Native American reservations. Washington Post, "EPA lays out next steps to clean up southwest Colorado mines," 14 June 2018 Rover cannot ride free — reservations are required and a surcharge of $25, or 800 Amtrak Guest Reward points, is assessed for travel each way. Mary Wisniewski,, "Pets now allowed on all Amtrak Midwest routes," 13 July 2018 No reservations are required to join the tour, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and should last about an hour. Sandy Guerra-cline, star-telegram, "River rockers, kid actors and peaches make the top 10 list of things to do in DFW," 11 July 2018 Unlike Disney’s FastPass+, reservations can only be made inside the park on the day guests want to ride. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Universal's Virtual Line revamps queues for attractions," 13 June 2018 The next month, officials broke off the Sammons' eight-day reservation, citing hurricane travel restrictions, Sammon said. Rebekah L. Sanders, azcentral, "Cruise company sails away with Mesa couple's $10,000," 7 June 2018 Separately, a new report warns that a growing number of potential Model 3 buyers have been cancelling their advance reservations and seeking the return of their $1,000 deposits. NBC News, "Tesla is finally ramping up Model 3 production — but have customers already given up waiting?," 6 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of reservation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reservation

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

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More Definitions for reservation



English Language Learners Definition of reservation

: 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


res·​er·​va·​tion | \ˌre-zər-ˈvā-shən \

Kids Definition of reservation

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.



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

3a : 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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