[nash-uh-nl, nash-nuh l]
  1. of, relating to, or maintained by a nation as an organized whole or independent political unit: national affairs.
  2. owned, preserved, or maintained by the federal government: a national wildlife refuge.
  3. peculiar or common to the whole people of a country: national customs.
  4. devoted to one's own nation, its interests, etc.; patriotic: to stir up national pride.
  5. nationalist.
  6. concerning or encompassing an entire nation: a national radio network.
  7. limited to one nation.
  1. a citizen or subject of a particular nation who is entitled to its protection: U.S. nationals living abroad.
  2. Often nationals. a national competition, tournament, or the like: We're invited to Minneapolis for the nationals.
  3. a national company or organization.

Origin of national

First recorded in 1590–1600; nation + -al1
Related formsna·tion·al·ly, adverban·ti·na·tion·al, adjectivean·ti·na·tion·al·ly, adverbnon·na·tion·al, adjective, nounnon·na·tion·al·ly, adverbpre·na·tion·al, adjectivepro·na·tion·al, adjectivepseu·do·na·tion·al, adjectivepseu·do·na·tion·al·ly, adverbqua·si-na·tion·al, adjectivequa·si-na·tion·al·ly, adverbsub·na·tion·al, adjectiveun·na·tion·al, adjectiveun·na·tion·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedfederal national Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for subnational


  1. of, involving, or relating to a nation as a whole
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a particular nationthe national dress of Poland
  3. rare nationalistic or patriotic
  1. a citizen or subject
  2. a national newspaper
Derived Formsnationally, adverb


  1. the National short for the Grand National
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 subnational



1590s, from Middle French national (from Old French nation), and also from nation + -al (1). As a noun, "citizen of a (particular) nation," from 1887. National anthem first recorded 1819, in Shelley. Related: Nationally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper