welfare state


Definition of welfare state 

1 : a social system based on the assumption by a political state of primary responsibility for the individual and social welfare of its citizens

2 : a nation or state characterized by the operation of the welfare state system

Examples of welfare state in a Sentence

supporters of the welfare state

Recent Examples on the Web

Mr Macron promised to unveil an anti-poverty programme in September, as part of a redesign of France’s welfare state for the 21st century. The Economist, "Emmanuel Macron’s popularity hits a new low," 12 July 2018 In contrast, the large welfare states of Europe depend on large, regressive, relatively efficient revenue programs, dominated by the VAT’s flat consumption tax. Christopher Demuth Sr., National Review, "Repairing Our Fractured Politics," 11 Jan. 2018 The welfare state in the U.S. has always been more privatized than in European countries. Sarah Jaffe, New Republic, "How the Media Is Abetting the GOP’s War on “Welfare”," 31 Jan. 2018 Trump’s policies—the antipathy toward the welfare state, industry deregulation, immigration raids that break up families—rip the fabric of the entire country, but their effects can be pronounced in rural places. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "Whitewashing Trump Country," 21 Feb. 2018 Governments supported by a strong national identification can redistribute resources and build welfare states more easily. Nikita Lalwani, Washington Post, "When is nationalism a good thing? When it unites an ethnically diverse citizenry," 26 June 2018 The collapse of the oil price in the 1980s and 1990s weakened a stable social democracy, hollowing out its welfare state, causing bank failures and exposing corruption. The Economist, "The price of electing saviours in Latin America," 27 June 2018 But the Trump administration does pose a specific threat to the welfare state. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Lessons From the Gilded Age," 13 June 2018 In fact, both Bulgaria and Austria, which on July 1 took over the E.U. presidency, are currently ruled by coalitions of the center-right and the far-right that support retrenchment of the welfare state and tough stances on migration. Julia Rone, Washington Post, "Bulgaria’s turn to lead the Council of the European Union just ended. How did things go?," 5 July 2018

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

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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The first known use of welfare state was in 1894

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welfare state


English Language Learners Definition of welfare state

: a social system in which a government is responsible for the economic and social welfare of its citizens and has policies to provide free health care, money for people without jobs, etc.; also : a country that has such a system

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about welfare state

Comments on welfare state

What made you want to look up welfare state? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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