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

What emerged was a blueprint for the modern welfare state. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 The rich aren’t rich enough to fund the modern welfare state’s ambitions, and their labor and wealth are too mobile to pin down in high-tax jurisdictions. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "All the Taxes in France," 7 Dec. 2018 When Ryan took over as speaker of the House, he was expected to unify the Republican party behind Obamacare repeal, tax cuts, and dismantling the welfare state. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Trump is more than happy to throw Paul Ryan under the bus," 31 Oct. 2018 After Ayatollah Khomeini’s takeover, the new state nationalized most major sectors and built elements of a welfare state, providing subsidies for fuel and university tuition. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "As Iran Marks Its Anniversary, Economic Woes Cloud a Pitch for Unity," 10 Feb. 2019 European countries built up welfare states, and the countries of the global South demanded consideration of their economic needs. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies," 23 Apr. 2018 Countries with greater ethnic diversity are usually believed to have stingier welfare states. The Economist, "The battle over benefitsIn Europe, right-wing parties are offering bigger handouts than traditional ones," 25 Jan. 2018 The Sweden Democrats, meanwhile, hew to conventional views on the need to spend more on Sweden’s welfare state. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Sweden’s Political Warning," 9 Sep. 2018 Mr Macron’s reform of SNCF is only part of a bigger effort to reshape the welfare state in a country where the public sector consumes 56% of GDP, the highest in the EU. The Economist, "Railway strikes test Macron’s reforms," 7 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of welfare state

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about welfare state

Share welfare state

Statistics for welfare state

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for welfare state

The first known use of welfare state was in 1894

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for welfare state

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

More from Merriam-Webster on welfare state

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with welfare state

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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