Synonyms & Antonyms of national

(Entry 1 of 2)

of or relating to a nation
  • played the home team's national anthem before the start of the soccer game

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Synonyms & Antonyms of national (Entry 2 of 2)

a person who owes allegiance to a government and is protected by it
  • recommended that foreign nationals living in the region evacuate immediately

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Frequently Asked Questions About national

How is the word national distinct from other similar nouns?

The words citizen and subject are common synonyms of national. While all three words mean "a person owing allegiance to and entitled to the protection of a sovereign state," national designates one who may claim the protection of a state and applies especially to one living or traveling outside that state.

American nationals working in the Middle East

When can citizen be used instead of national?

The synonyms citizen and national are sometimes interchangeable, but citizen is preferred for one owing allegiance to a state in which sovereign power is retained by the people and sharing in the political rights of those people.

the rights of a free citizen

In what contexts can subject take the place of national?

The words subject and national can be used in similar contexts, but subject implies allegiance to a personal sovereign such as a monarch.

the king's subjects

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Time Traveler for national

Time Traveler

The first known use of national was in 1580

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Cite this Entry

“National.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on national

Dictionary: Definition of national

Nglish: Translation of national for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of national for Arabic Speakers

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