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 As for a meal at beloved Nobu Lanai, anyone with fingers quick enough to make a reservation can get in. Katie Sweeney, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 The park service recommends making reservations for in-park camping or lodging as early as possible. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 15 Feb. 2024 If picked, guests need to make a reservation at least seven days in advance to claim the dinner. Sabrina Weiss, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 If Oppenheimer had reservations about the atomic bomb, he was driven to despair over the prospect of the hydrogen bomb, or, as it was called then, the Super. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 13 Feb. 2024 Our network of yards provides trucking fleets with secure locations for their drivers and cargo, hassle-free access to each location, consistent billing, and visibility into their assets and reservations. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Feb. 2024 To make a reservation, call or text (760) 583-2197 or email Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Feb. 2024 The tribe sued Enbridge in 2019 to force the company to remove the portion of Line 5 that crosses its reservation, saying the 71-year-old pipeline is dangerous and land easements allowing Enbridge to operate on the reservation expired in 2013. Todd Richmond, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 Don’t miss the eggplant parmesan, and do make a reservation ahead of time. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

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 1 Mar. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!