[ney-shuh n]


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.

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
Related formsna·tion·hood, nounna·tion·less, adjectivein·ter·na·tion, adjectivemin·i·na·tion, nounsu·per·na·tion, noun

Synonyms for nation

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


[ney-shuh n]


Carry or Carrie (Amelia Moore),1846–1911, U.S. temperance leader. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nation

Contemporary Examples of nation

Historical Examples of nation

British Dictionary definitions for nation



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 nation

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