res·​er·​va·​tion | \ ˌre-zər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce reservation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce reservationist (audio) \ 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

Haleakala, Hawaii Watching sunrise from the summit of the highest peak on Maui has been a tradition for decades, so much so that early risers must make reservations with the Park Service to visit the mountaintop at dawn. Joe Yogerst, National Geographic, "Top 10 sweeping views of iconic parks," 12 June 2019 Expect to try ropa vieja in a local home for dinner, rather than making a reservation on the rooftop of a high-rise hotel, and join intimate walking tours guided exclusively by locals, rather than expats. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Plan a "Support for the Cuban People" Trip," 7 June 2019 Alexa offered suggestions, made a dinner reservation and asked if the person needed a taxi ride. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Amazon's Alexa will be able to plan your date night by booking tickets, Ubers and dinner," 6 June 2019 The woman asked Alexa to make a reservation at one of them. Rachel Metz, CNN, "Alexa will soon be able to book your date night — including dinner, movie, and a ride," 5 June 2019 Even when making dinner reservations, look for places with unique atmospheres that are easy on the eyes—and ideally have a cool mocktail menu. Carly Benson, SELF, "7 Important Tips for Traveling While Sober and Having an Even Better Time," 14 Feb. 2019 Make a reservation by calling 407-645-4443 or Lauren Delgado,, "Christner's Prime Steak & Lobster celebrates 25 years," 13 June 2018 MetroAccess customers who want to travel on the holiday should make a separate reservation. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Here’s what you need to know to get around the Washington region this Memorial Day weekend," 25 May 2018 Read More Family's pastor: Dad's mental illness to blame for 'insane and evil' crash into restaurant The Observer's news partner WBTV reported Roger Self made the reservation with the restaurant, and asked for that specific table. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "He was a 'church-going family man' up until killing 2 family members at NC restaurant | Charlotte Observer," 21 May 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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Statistics for reservation

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce reservation (audio) \

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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Comments on reservation

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