noun, often attributive
\ ˈstāt How to pronounce state (audio) \

Definition of state

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : mode or condition of being a state of readiness
b(1) : condition of mind or temperament in a highly nervous state
(2) : a condition of abnormal tension or excitement
2a : a condition or stage in the physical being of something insects in the larval state the gaseous state of water
b : any of various conditions characterized by definite quantities (as of energy, angular momentum, or magnetic moment) in which an atomic system may exist
3a : social position especially : high rank
b(1) : elaborate or luxurious style of living
(2) : formal dignity : pomp usually used with in
4a : a body of persons constituting a special class in a society : estate sense 3
b states plural : the members or representatives of the governing classes assembled in a legislative body
c obsolete : a person of high rank (as a noble)
5a : a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory especially : one that is sovereign
b : the political organization of such a body of people
c : a government or politically organized society having a particular character a police state the welfare state
6 : the operations or concerns of the government of a country
7a : one of the constituent units of a nation having a federal government the fifty states
b States plural : The United States of America
8 : the territory of a state


stated; stating

Definition of state (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to set by regulation or authority
2 : to express the particulars of especially in words : report broadly : to express in words

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Other Words from state


statable or stateable \ ˈstā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce stateable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of state in a Sentence

Noun Happiness is the state or condition of being happy. We must keep our armed forces in a constant state of readiness. She meditates to achieve a higher state of being. The building is in such a sorry state that it's hardly worth fixing. water in a gaseous state the solid and liquid states the member states of the United Nations Security Council Verb The lawyer will state the facts of the case. He stated his name in full. I was merely stating an opinion. “This is a difficult situation,” he stated simply. Please state the purpose of your visit. I'd like to state for the record that I disagree with the board's decision. For the reasons stated above, I hereby withdraw from the competition. The rules clearly state that you can only draw one card.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And farmers in those states, and perhaps others, seem to have a more complicated relationship with the developing trade issue. Dante Chinni, NBC News, "Farmers back Trump's tariff fight, but don't think it helps them," 11 Aug. 2019 Swing Left meeting: Lisa Ferino of Reclaim Our Vote will talk about reaching disenfranchised communities in states such as Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Texas and Mississippi and getting them to the polls., "Bay Area political events: Henry George podcast host, Dan Pfeiffer," 11 Aug. 2019 Migrants cross the Venezuela border in growingly desperate conditions, sometimes walking for days and in various states of starvation or deteriorated health. Megan Janetsky, USA TODAY, "No country to call home? Some babies born in Colombia to Venezuelan parents lack birthright citizenship," 11 Aug. 2019 Vladimir Putin has drawn the current Orthodox leadership into a close political partnership in which both sides laud the need for a strong and geopolitically confident Russian state. The Economist, "Church leaders in central and eastern Europe remain surprisingly loath to condemn their old adversary," 11 Aug. 2019 Judges can consider an individual’s history of domestic abuse, for example, under red-flag laws adopted in at least 17 states. Julie Bosman, New York Times, "A Common Trait Among Mass Killers: Hatred Toward Women," 10 Aug. 2019 Authorities declared a state of emergency in the region and ordered the evacuation of residents of several districts in Achinsk, as well as towns and villages within 12.4 miles of the depot. Fox News, "Fresh blast at Russian arms depot days after massive explosions," 10 Aug. 2019 The Edison High football team will be in Hawai’i for its first game of the season against Wailuku Baldwin on Friday, but the Chargers are not in a relaxed state of mind. Andrew Turner, Daily Pilot, "High School Football Preview: Edison to trust that process will lead to winning season," 10 Aug. 2019 But as some Trump aides were drafting that speech, others were casting doubt on the significance of a climate threat to a key battleground state: the degradation of coral reefs in Florida. Michael Wilner,, "Trump administration throws cold water on climate change threat to Florida’s coral reefs," 10 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Executive vice president Stephen Jones went on record a few weeks ago stating that the club’s No. David Moore, Dallas News, "After paying more for Ezekiel Elliott than the Cowboys envisioned, can they handle Dak Prescott’s deal any differently?," 11 Feb. 2020 Buttigieg is too green, Biden argued, stating his mayoral experience does not fit the challenges awaiting a post-MAGA administration. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Candidates prepare for New Hampshire debate," 7 Feb. 2020 If the federal government curtails financing methods states now rely on, governors would have to seek broad tax increases, cut payments to hospitals and doctors, reduce benefits, restrict eligibility, or some combination of such measures., "Governors warn Trump rule could lead to big Medicaid cuts," 6 Feb. 2020 Guttenberg apologized on Wednesday morning for yelling out, stating that his emotions got the best of him. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Nancy Pelosi, American Hero, Ripped Up Trump's Speech at the End of His SOTU Address," 5 Feb. 2020 Trout did not express concern over a ransomware attack in Tillamook County Jan. 22, stating that protective measures had been taken and noting that there was no impact on voter registration. oregonlive, "Oregon election officials say intentional disinformation poses the biggest threat to election security," 4 Feb. 2020 The report concluded by stating that film is on par with television in regards to the number of stories being told about girls and women for the first time in over a decade. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "Women, Actors of Color Better Represented in 2019 Films, Study Finds," 4 Feb. 2020 Chief Craig Williams responded to Pritchard’s complaint, stating that the department hired an independent investigator to look into her allegations. Gerren Keith Gaynor, Fox News, "Female firefighter claims she was fired for posting racy workout photos to Instagram," 1 Feb. 2020 As stated above, the average score of Knicks games when going against top-10 paced teams is 225. Geoff Clark, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Memphis Grizzlies at New York Knicks odds, picks and best bets," 29 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'state.' 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 state


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for state


Middle English stat, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French estat, from Latin status, from stare to stand — more at stand

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Time Traveler for state

Time Traveler

The first known use of state was in the 13th century

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Statistics for state

Cite this Entry

“State.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for state


How to pronounce state (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of state

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a way of living or existing
: the overall physical condition of something : the ability of something to be used, enjoyed, etc.
: the things that affect the way you think or feel : your physical or mental condition



English Language Learners Definition of state (Entry 2 of 2)

: to express (something) formally in speech or writing
: to give (specific information, instructions, rules, etc.) in writing


\ ˈstāt How to pronounce state (audio) \

Kids Definition of state

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : manner or condition of being Steam is water in the gaseous state. … the health inspector was rather picky about the state of the cafeteria …— Pam Zollman, Don't Bug Me!
2 : a body of people living in a certain territory under one government : the government of such a body of people
3 : one of the divisions of a nation having a federal government the United States of America


stated; stating

Kids Definition of state (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to express especially in words I'm just stating my opinion.
2 : to set by rule, law, or authority The rules of the contest are stated below.


\ ˈstāt How to pronounce state (audio) \

Medical Definition of state

: mode or condition of being: as
a : condition of mind or temperament a manic state
b : a condition or stage in the physical being of something the gaseous state of water

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noun, often attributive

Legal Definition of state

1a : a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory especially : one that is sovereign
b : the political organization that has supreme civil authority and political power and serves as the basis of government — see also compelling state interest at interest sense 3a, separation of church and state
c : a government or politically organized society having a particular character a police state
2 : the operations or concerns of the government of a country : the sphere of administration and supreme political power of a country (as in international relations) secrets of state affairs of state
3a : one of the constituent units of a nation having a federal government specifically : one of the fifty such units comprising the great part of the U.S. — see also state law
b : the territory of a state

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More from Merriam-Webster on state

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for state

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with state

Spanish Central: Translation of state

Nglish: Translation of state for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of state for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about state

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