[kuh n-fed-er-uh-see, -fed-ruh-see]

noun, plural con·fed·er·a·cies.

an alliance between persons, parties, states, etc., for some purpose.
a group of persons, parties, states, etc., united by such a confederacy.
a combination of persons for unlawful purposes; conspiracy.

Origin of confederacy

1350–1400; Middle English confederacie < Anglo-French; see confederate, -acy

Confederate States of America

plural noun

the group of 11 Southern states that seceded from the United States in 1860–61.
Also called the Confederacy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for confederacy

Contemporary Examples of confederacy

Historical Examples of confederacy

  • Our Confederacy, fellow-citizens, can only be preserved by the same forbearance.

  • Moreover, this was the heart of the Confederacy and other unknown forces might be gathering.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • I wouldn't have got off my horse and leaned over that box to save the Confederacy.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • In all the Confederacy no houseful went to sleep that night in sweeter content.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • It had been given only four times in the long history of the Confederacy.

    Join Our Gang?

    Sterling E. Lanier

British Dictionary definitions for confederacy


noun plural -cies

a union or combination of peoples, states, etc; alliance; league
a combination of groups or individuals for unlawful purposes
Derived Formsconfederal, adjective

Word Origin for confederacy

C14: from Anglo-French confederacie, from Late Latin confoederātiō agreement, confederation



the Confederacy another name for Confederate States of America

Confederate States of America

pl n

US history the 11 Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi) that seceded from the Union in 1861, precipitating a civil war with the North. The Confederacy was defeated in 1865 and the South reincorporated into the US
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

Word Origin and History for confederacy

late 14c., from Anglo-French confederacie (Old French confederacie), from stem of Latin confoederatio, from confoederare (see confederate). Earliest in reference to leagues of classical Greek states (Aetolian, Achaean, etc.), later of the Netherlands. The word was used of the United States of America under (and in) the Articles of Confederation (1777-1788). In reference to the breakaway Confederate States of America (1861-1865) from 1861.

Confederacy now usually implies a looser or more temporary association than confederation, which is applied to a union of states organized on an intentionally permanent basis. [OED]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for confederacy


The Confederate States of America; the government formed in 1861 by southern states that proclaimed their secession from the United States. Jefferson Davis was its president. The Confederacy was dissolved after the Civil War. (Compare Union.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.