[ kuhn-fed-uh-rey-shuhn ]
/ kənˌfɛd əˈreɪ ʃən /
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the act of confederating.
the state of being confederated.
a league or alliance.
a group of confederates, especially of states more or less permanently united for common purposes.
the Confederation, the union of the 13 original U.S. states under the Articles of Confederation 1781–89.
(initial capital letter) the federation of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, formed in 1867 and constituting the Dominion of Canada.
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Origin of confederation

1375–1425; late Middle English <Late Latin confoederātiōn- (stem of confoederātiō) an agreement, equivalent to confoederāt(us) confederate + -iōn--ion

synonym study for confederation

3. See alliance.

OTHER WORDS FROM confederation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use confederation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for confederation (1 of 2)

/ (kənˌfɛdəˈreɪʃən) /

the act or process of confederating or the state of being confederated
a loose alliance of political units. The union of the Swiss cantons is the oldest surviving confederationCompare federation
(esp in Canada) another name for federation

Derived forms of confederation

confederationism, nounconfederationist, nounconfederative, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for confederation (2 of 2)

/ (kənˌfɛdəˈreɪʃən) /

the Confederation US history the original 13 states of the United States of America constituted under the Articles of Confederation and superseded by the more formal union established in 1789
the federation of Canada, formed with four original provinces in 1867 and since joined by eight more
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

Cultural definitions for confederation


A group of nations or states, or a government encompassing several states or political divisions, in which the component states retain considerable independence. The members of a confederation often delegate only a few powers to the central authority.

notes for confederation

The United States was governed as a confederation in the first few years of its independence (see Articles of Confederation).

notes for confederation

Canada is officially a confederation of provinces.
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.