federal

[fed-er-uh l]

adjective

noun

an advocate of federation or federalism.
(initial capital letter) U.S. History.
  1. a Federalist.
  2. an adherent of the Union government during the Civil War; Unionist.
  3. a soldier in the Federal army.

Origin of federal

1635–45; earlier foederal < Latin foeder- (stem of foedus) league + -al1
Related formsfed·er·al·ly, adverbfed·er·al·ness, nounnon·fed·er·al, adjectivequa·si-fed·er·al, adjectivequa·si-fed·er·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfederal national
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for federal government

Federal Government

noun

the national government of a federated state, such as that of Australia located in Canberra

Federal

adjective

  1. of or relating to the Federalist party or Federalism
  2. characteristic of or supporting the Union government during the American Civil War

noun

  1. a supporter of the Union government during the American Civil War
  2. a Federalist

federal

adjective

of or relating to a form of government or a country in which power is divided between one central and several regional governments
of or relating to a treaty between provinces, states, etc, that establishes a political unit in which power is so divided
of or relating to the central government of a federation
of or relating to any union or association of parties or groups that retain some autonomy
(of a university) comprised of relatively independent colleges

noun

a supporter of federal union or federation
Derived Formsfederally, adverb

Word Origin for federal

C17: from Latin foedus league
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 federal government

federal

adj.

1640s, as a theological term, from French fédéral, from Latin foedus (genitive foederis) "covenant, league, treaty, alliance," related to fides "faith" (see faith).

Meaning "pertaining to a treaty" (1650s) led to political sense of "state formed by agreement among independent states" (1707), from phrases like federal union "union based on a treaty," popularized by formation of U.S.A. 1776-1787.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper