[ fed-er-uh l ]
/ ˈfɛd ər əl /



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.

Nearby words

  1. fedayee,
  2. fedayeen,
  3. feddan,
  4. fedelini,
  5. federacy,
  6. federal aviation administration,
  7. federal bureau of investigation,
  8. federal capital territory,
  9. federal case,
  10. federal communications commission

Origin of federal

1635–45; earlier foederal < Latin foeder- (stem of foedus) league + -al1

Related forms
Can be confusedfederal national

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

Examples from the Web for quasi-federal

  • To introduce into it a quasi-Federal element is to mix oil with water.

  • The provincial governments were a source of great strength to China in that they made possible a quasi-federal government.

    Government in Republican China|Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger

British Dictionary definitions for quasi-federal


/ (ˈfɛdərəl) /


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


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


/ (ˈfɛdərəl) /


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


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 quasi-federal



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