[ ney-shuh n ]
/ ˈneɪ ʃən /


a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own: The president spoke to the nation about the new tax.
the territory or country itself: the nations of Central America.
a member tribe of an American Indian confederation.
an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, often speaking the same language or cognate languages.

Nearby words

  1. nathans, daniel,
  2. natheless,
  3. nathless,
  4. natick,
  5. natimortality,
  6. nation of islam,
  7. nation, carry,
  8. nation-building,
  9. nation-state,
  10. national

Origin of nation

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin nātiōn- (stem of nātiō) birth, tribe, equivalent to nāt(us) (past participle of nāscī to be born) + -iōn- -ion

1. See race2. 2. state, commonwealth, kingdom, realm.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for internation


/ (ˈneɪʃən) /


an aggregation of people or peoples of one or more cultures, races, etc, organized into a single statethe Australian nation
a community of persons not constituting a state but bound by common descent, language, history, etcthe French-Canadian nation
  1. a federation of tribes, esp American Indians
  2. the territory occupied by such a federation
Derived Formsnationhood, nounnationless, adjective

Word Origin for nation

C13: via Old French from Latin nātiō birth, tribe, from nascī to be born

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 internation



c.1300, from Old French nacion "birth, rank; descendants, relatives; country, homeland" (12c.) and directly from Latin nationem (nominative natio) "birth, origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of people, tribe," literally "that which has been born," from natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus). Political sense has gradually predominated, but earliest English examples inclined toward the racial meaning "large group of people with common ancestry." Older sense preserved in application to North American Indian peoples (1640s). Nation-building first attested 1907 (implied in nation-builder).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper