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United Nations

(used with a singular verb) an international organization, with headquarters in New York City, formed to promote international peace, security, and cooperation under the terms of the charter signed by 51 founding countries in San Francisco in 1945.
Abbreviation: UN.
(used with a plural verb) the nations that signed the joint declaration in Washington, D.C., January 2, 1942, pledging to employ full resources against the Axis powers, not to make a separate peace, etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for United Nations
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Far away and high above hung the war-planes of the United Nations.

    Invasion William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • The grounded fleet of the United Nations was taking to the air again.

    Invasion William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • Because of Bulgaria's antisocial behavior in the world community, the country was excluded from the United Nations until 1955.

    Area Handbook for Bulgaria

    Eugene K. Keefe, Violeta D. Baluyut, William Giloane, Anne K. Long, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • There's not even a bad cold that the United Nations team could find.

    Prologue to an Analogue Leigh Richmond
  • These new soldiers were the policemen of the United Nations made into supermen!

    Of Stegner's Folly Richard S. Shaver
British Dictionary definitions for United Nations

United Nations

noun (functioning as singular or pl)
an international organization of independent states, with its headquarters in New York City, that was formed in 1945 to promote peace and international cooperation and security UN
(in World War II) a coalition of 26 nations that signed a joint declaration in Jan 1942, pledging their full resources to defeating the Axis powers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for United Nations

1942, "the Allied nations at war with the Axis powers;" the international body (officially the United Nations Organization) was chartered in 1945.

Such negotiation as may occur in New York is not conducted within the walls of the tall building by the East River: it is carried out elsewhere, in accordance with those principles of courtesy, confidence and discretion which must for ever remain the only principles conducive to the peaceful settlement of disputes. [Harold Nicholson, "The Evolution of Diplomatic Method," 1954]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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United Nations in Culture

United Nations definition

An organization that includes virtually all countries in the world, with nearly 190 member nations. Its General Assembly, in which each member nation has one vote, guides policies and finances generally. Another important division of the United Nations is the Security Council, in which five powerful nations have a majority; the Security Council is charged with solving crises and keeping peace. The United Nations also includes an Economic and Social Council; a Secretariat, or administrative division; and the International Court of Justice, or World Court. It also is allied with several agencies that operate independently, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Note: The United Nations was formed after World War II as a successor to the League of Nations and has served as a forum for many international disputes, notably the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Cuban missile crisis. It also engages in peacekeeping operations by sending lightly armed detachments of soldiers from neutral nations to supervise cease-fires between combatants. Through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it provides aid for those uprooted by war or famine.
Note: The Korean War was officially fought by the United Nations against North Korea.
Note: A twenty-eight nation coalition of United Nations member states opposed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. (See Persian Gulf War.)
Note: The headquarters of the U.N. are in Manhattan. Some of its affiliates, however, are centered elsewhere. The International Court of Justice sits in The Hague. UNHCR is headquartered in Geneva, and UNESCO in Paris.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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