See more synonyms for state on
  1. the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes: a state of health.
  2. the condition of matter with respect to structure, form, constitution, phase, or the like: water in a gaseous state.
  3. status, rank, or position in life; station: He dresses in a manner befitting his state.
  4. the style of living befitting a person of wealth and high rank: to travel in state.
  5. a particular condition of mind or feeling: to be in an excited state.
  6. an abnormally tense, nervous, or perturbed condition: He's been in a state since hearing about his brother's death.
  7. a politically unified people occupying a definite territory; nation.
  8. the territory, or one of the territories, of a government.
  9. (sometimes initial capital letter) any of the bodies politic which together make up a federal union, as in the United States of America.
  10. the body politic as organized for civil rule and government (distinguished from church).
  11. the operations or activities of a central civil government: affairs of state.
  12. (initial capital letter) Also called State Department. Informal. the Department of State.
  13. Printing. a set of copies of an edition of a publication which differ from others of the same printing because of additions, corrections, or transpositions made during printing or at any time before publication.
  14. the States, Informal. the United States (usually used outside its borders): After a year's study in Spain, he returned to the States.
  1. of or relating to the central civil government or authority.
  2. made, maintained, or chartered by or under the authority of one of the commonwealths that make up a federal union: a state highway; a state bank.
  3. characterized by, attended with, or involving ceremony: a state dinner.
  4. used on or reserved for occasions of ceremony.
verb (used with object), stat·ed, stat·ing.
  1. to declare definitely or specifically: She stated her position on the case.
  2. to set forth formally in speech or writing: to state a hypothesis.
  3. to set forth in proper or definite form: to state a problem.
  4. to say.
  5. to fix or settle, as by authority.
  1. lie in state, (of a corpse) to be exhibited publicly with honors before burial: The president's body lay in state for two days.

Origin of state

1175–1225; Middle English stat (noun), partly aphetic variant of estat estate, partly < Latin status condition (see status); in defs 7–11 < Latin status (rērum) state (of things) or status (reī pūblicae) state (of the republic)
Related formsstat·a·ble, state·a·ble, adjectivean·ti·state, adjectivecoun·ter·state, verb, coun·ter·stat·ed, coun·ter·stat·ing.out·state, verb (used with object), out·stat·ed, out·stat·ing.sub·state, nounun·stat·a·ble, adjectiveun·state·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for state

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

1. State, condition, situation, status are terms for existing circumstances or surroundings. State is the general word, often with no concrete implications or material relationships: the present state of affairs. Condition carries an implication of a relationship to causes and circumstances: The conditions made flying impossible. Situation suggests an arrangement of circumstances, related to one another and to the character of a person: He was master of the situation. Status carries official or legal implications; it suggests a complete picture of interrelated circumstances as having to do with rank, position, standing, a stage reached in progress, etc.: the status of negotiations. 19. See maintain. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for state

Contemporary Examples of state

Historical Examples of state

  • But can the safety of the state be secured by merely excluding the vicious poor?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Well, if you have any business, you may state it at once, as I am quite busy.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • They now state they are only horses' bones, and not men's, as first stated.

  • The State exists only as an integral portion of the United States.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since

    Charles Francis Adams

  • When the Kings were weak the nobles often managed to get hold of the State.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for state


  1. the condition of a person, thing, etc, with regard to main attributes
  2. the structure, form, or constitution of somethinga solid state
  3. any mode of existence
  4. position in life or society; estate
  5. ceremonious style, as befitting wealth or dignityto live in state
  6. a sovereign political power or community
  7. the territory occupied by such a community
  8. the sphere of power in such a communityaffairs of state
  9. (often capital) one of a number of areas or communities having their own governments and forming a federation under a sovereign government, as in the US
  10. (often capital) the body politic of a particular sovereign power, esp as contrasted with a rival authority such as the Church
  11. obsolete a class or order; estate
  12. informal a nervous, upset, or excited condition (esp in the phrase in a state)
  13. lie in state (of a body) to be placed on public view before burial
  14. state of affairs a situation; present circumstances or condition
  15. state of play the current situation
  1. controlled or financed by a statestate university
  2. of, relating to, or concerning the StateState trial
  3. involving ceremony or concerned with a ceremonious occasionstate visit
verb (tr; may take a clause as object)
  1. to articulate in words; utter
  2. to declare formally or publiclyto state one's innocence
  3. to resolve
Derived Formsstatable or stateable, adjectivestatehood, noun

Word Origin for state

C13: from Old French estat, from Latin status a standing, from stāre to stand
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 state

early 13c., "circumstances, temporary attributes of a person or thing, conditions," from Latin status "manner of standing, position, condition," noun of action from past participle stem of stare "to stand" from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Some Middle English senses are via Old French estat (French état; see estate).

The Latin word was adopted into other modern Germanic languages (e.g. German, Dutch staat) but chiefly in the political senses only. Meaning "physical condition as regards form or structure" is attested from late 13c. Meaning "mental or emotional condition" is attested from 1530s (phrase state of mind first attested 1749); colloquial sense of "agitated or perturbed state" is from 1837.

He [the President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. [U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section iii]

1590s, "to set in a position," from state (n.1); the sense of "declare in words" is first attested 1640s, from the notion of "placing" something on the record. Related: Stated; stating.


"political organization of a country, supreme civil power, government," 1530s, from state (n.1); this sense grew out of the meaning "condition of a country" with regard to government, prosperity, etc. (late 13c.), from Latin phrases such as status rei publicæ "condition of the republic." Often in phrase church and state, which is attested from 1580s.

The sense of "semi-independent political entity under a federal authority" (as in the United States of America) is from 1856; the British North American colonies occasionally were called states as far back as 1630s. The states has been short for "the United States of America" since 1777; hence stateside (1944), World War II U.S. military slang. State rights in U.S. political sense is attested from 1798; form states rights is first recorded 1858.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

state in Medicine


  1. A condition or situation; status.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with state


In addition to the idiom beginning with state

  • state of the art

also see:

  • in a lather (state)
  • in state
  • ship of state
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.