United Nations

  1. (used with a singular verb) an international organization, with headquarters in New York City, formed to promote international peace, security, and cooperation under the terms of the charter signed by 51 founding countries in San Francisco in 1945.Abbreviations: UN, U.N.: Compare General Assembly, Security Council.

  2. (used with a plural verb) the nations that signed the joint declaration in Washington, D.C., January 2, 1942, pledging to employ full resources against the Axis powers, not to make a separate peace, etc.

Compare Meanings

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.

Words Nearby United Nations

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use United Nations in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for United Nations

United Nations

noun(functioning as singular or plural)
  1. an international organization of independent states, with its headquarters in New York City, that was formed in 1945 to promote peace and international cooperation and security: Abbreviation: UN

  2. (in World War II) a coalition of 26 nations that signed a joint declaration in Jan 1942, pledging their full resources to defeating the Axis powers

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

Cultural definitions for United Nations

United Nations

An organization that includes virtually all countries in the world, with nearly 190 member nations. Its General Assembly, in which each member nation has one vote, guides policies and finances generally. Another important division of the United Nations is the Security Council, in which five powerful nations have a majority; the Security Council is charged with solving crises and keeping peace. The United Nations also includes an Economic and Social Council; a Secretariat, or administrative division; and the International Court of Justice, or World Court. It also is allied with several agencies that operate independently, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Notes for United Nations

The United Nations was formed after World War II as a successor to the League of Nations and has served as a forum for many international disputes, notably the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Cuban missile crisis. It also engages in peacekeeping operations by sending lightly armed detachments of soldiers from neutral nations to supervise cease-fires between combatants. Through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), it provides aid for those uprooted by war or famine.

Notes for United Nations

The Korean War was officially fought by the United Nations against North Korea.

Notes for United Nations

A twenty-eight nation coalition of United Nations member states opposed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. (See Persian Gulf War.)

Notes for United Nations

The headquarters of the U.N. are in Manhattan. Some of its affiliates, however, are centered elsewhere. The International Court of Justice sits in The Hague. UNHCR is headquartered in Geneva, and UNESCO in Paris.

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.