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 Radley said this can be attributed to Black Americans making up the majority of essential workers and a high COVID-19 death rate on reservations. Emma Hall, Sacramento Bee, 18 Apr. 2024 The San Diego Football Club’s Right to Dream Academy is under construction on the Sycuan reservation in the eastern part of the county, scheduled to open in January. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Apr. 2024 Over the past few months, the city has welcomed a number of notable new restaurants well worth the reservation. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 17 Apr. 2024 Get the Recipe 64 of 80 Crab Pie Skip the reservations and make this elegant meal for mom. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 16 Apr. 2024 Many Native Americans live in small towns or on poor, rural reservations. Arielle Zionts, CBS News, 15 Apr. 2024 At Nebraska Indian Community College, with three campuses on or near the Omaha and Santee reservations, the pandemic more than doubled native enrollment, according to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, while the number of non-native students increased nearly twelvefold. Matt Krupnick, The Arizona Republic, 14 Apr. 2024 But losing a key piece of the interior defensive line will force the Trojans to search for another player amid Riley’s reservations about depth at the position. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2024 Advertisement Due to the popularity of WOW, many of the shows that required reservations filled up as soon as they were announced last month. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2024

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 24 Apr. 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

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