[ yoon-yuhn ]
/ ˈyun yən /
Save This Word!

Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of union

1400–50; late Middle English <Middle French <Late Latin ūniōn- (stem of ūniō), equivalent to Latin ūn(us) one + -iōn--ion

synonym study for union

1. Union, unity agree in referring to a oneness, either created by putting together, or by being undivided. A union is a state of being united, a combination, as the result of joining two or more things into one: to promote the union between two families; the Union of England and Scotland. Unity is the state or inherent quality of being one, single, individual, and indivisible (often as a consequence of union): to find unity in diversity; to give unity to a work of art. 5. See alliance.


Other definitions for union (2 of 2)

[ yoon-yuhn ]
/ ˈyun yən /

a township in NE New Jersey.
a city in NW South Carolina.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a union?

A union is a group of workers for a particular organization or industry who come together for collective bargaining with their employers. Labor unions and trade unions often work closely with employers to maintain the rights, wages, benefits, and liberties of the unionized workers, peacefully protesting when necessary.

Broadly, a union is a combination of people or things. Any time two or more things come together physically, emotionally, or politically, they are said to be in a union. It could be as simple as the union of peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich. Two more important unions are a marriage and a civil union, which is a lesser alternative for a marriage. While a civil union doesn’t offer all of the rights and protections in the law that a marriage does, it is recognized by most governments as a permanent relationship with some rights and protections.

A union might also refer to a larger group of people joined together for a common purpose besides labor issues, such as a credit union (an alternative to a traditional bank) and a student union, a place set aside on some college and university campuses for student activities.

Example: The union of the companies went smoothly and everyone is benefitting.

Where does union come from?

The first records of the term union come from the 1400s. It comes from the Late Latin ūniō, meaning “oneness.” When a union takes place, multiple things come together to make one.

A group of states or nations can also form a union. A notable one occurred during the American Civil War, with the Union representing the states that remained a part of the United States after the southern states seceded from the US. Another was the formation of a new nation that combined Great Britain and Scotland in the early 1700s.

If you pay attention to the news in January, you also might hear about the US President’s State of the Union message. This is an annual speech from the president to all of Congress, updating them on how the Union, that is, the United States, is doing.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to union?

What are some synonyms for union?

What are some words that share a root or word element with union?

What are some words that often get used in discussing union?

How is union used in real life?

Union is normally used in a business context as many companies have workers’ unions or enter into unions with other companies.


Try using union!

Is union used correctly in the following sentence?

Gail and Judy really wanted to be married, but their state would only let them have a civil union.

How to use union in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for union (1 of 2)

/ (ˈjuːnjən) /


Word Origin for union

C15: from Church Latin ūniō oneness, from Latin ūnus one

British Dictionary definitions for union (2 of 2)

/ (ˈjuːnjən) /

noun the Union
  1. the union of England and Wales from 1543
  2. the union of the English and Scottish crowns (1603–1707)
  3. the union of England and Scotland from 1707
  4. the political union of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1920)
  5. the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1920
  1. the United States of America
  2. the northern states of the US during the Civil War
  3. (as modifier)Union supporters
short for the Union of South Africa
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

Scientific definitions for union

[ yōōnyən ]

A set whose members belong to at least one of a group of two or more given sets. The union of the sets {1,2,3} and {3,4,5} is the set {1,2,3,4,5}, and the union of the sets {6,7} and {11,12,13} is the set {6,7,11,12,13}. The symbol for union is . Compare intersection.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for union


The United States; especially the northern states during the Civil War, which remained with the original United States government. (Compare Confederacy.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.