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 Here's a rundown on the latest for travelers going to Britain in 2020: Book these attractions early Timed-entry tickets and advance reservations are becoming increasingly popular throughout Europe, as popular sights grapple with growing crowds. Rick Steves, USA TODAY, "Traveling to the UK post-Brexit? Here's what you need to know before you go," 11 Feb. 2020 Bonobo accepts reservations by phone at (414) 964-4663 or through the website. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bonobo American Bistro in Shorewood weaves healthier options into its menu," 7 Feb. 2020 Cash bar and silent auction, 6 p.m.; dinner, 6:45 p.m.; classic love songs, 8 p.m. COST: Advance reservations only. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "From romantic dinners to Galentine's Day, here are 30+ ways to celebrate Valentine's Day," 4 Feb. 2020 Guests are welcome at the Banquet, but guests must make an advance reservation and pay $40 at the door. Staff, al, "Little, Thompson are Montgomery QB Club players of year," 31 Jan. 2020 TripIt will parse all those email reservations into one easy-to-read itinerary, complete with your confirmation numbers, departure and check-in times, and a map that takes you from the airport to your Airbnb. Whitson Gordon, Popular Science, "Minimize travel hell with these apps and tools," 30 Jan. 2020 The result is a legal order that is relentlessly insistent on the priority of rights and of property rights above all, and yet shot through with exceptions and reservations. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money," 28 Jan. 2020 The new Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi will open in July, and their website—and room reservations—will be available starting January 28. Andrew Sessa, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Complete Guide to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics," 24 Jan. 2020 More importantly, the deal eased North Macedonia’s path firmly into the European fold, ending Greek reservations that had prevented North Macedonia’s formal move into NATO. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "NATO Is Expanding, and Everyone Is Curiously Silent," 16 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for reservation

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reservation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for reservation


How to pronounce reservation (audio)

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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