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[kuh n-fed-er-uh-see, -fed-ruh-see] /kənˈfɛd ər ə si, -ˈfɛd rə si/
noun, plural confederacies.
an alliance between persons, parties, states, etc., for some purpose.
a group of persons, parties, states, etc., united by such a confederacy.
a combination of persons for unlawful purposes; conspiracy.
the Confederacy, Confederate States of America.
1350-1400; Middle English confederacie < Anglo-French; see confederate, -acy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for confederacy
  • The abenakis were one of the five members of the wabanaki confederacy.
  • Sumner was a leading proponent of abolishing slavery to weaken the confederacy.
British Dictionary definitions for confederacy


/kənˈfɛdərəsɪ; -ˈfɛdrəsɪ/
noun (pl) -cies
a union or combination of peoples, states, etc; alliance; league
a combination of groups or individuals for unlawful purposes
Derived Forms
confederal, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-French confederacie, from Late Latin confoederātiō agreement, confederation


/kənˈfɛdərəsɪ; -ˈfɛdrəsɪ/
the Confederacy, another name for Confederate States of America
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
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Word Origin and History for confederacy

late 14c., from Anglo-French confederacie (Old French confederacie), from stem of Latin confoederatio, from confoederare (see confederate). Earliest in reference to leagues of classical Greek states (Aetolian, Achaean, etc.), later of the Netherlands. The word was used of the United States of America under (and in) the Articles of Confederation (1777-1788). In reference to the breakaway Confederate States of America (1861-1865) from 1861.

Confederacy now usually implies a looser or more temporary association than confederation, which is applied to a union of states organized on an intentionally permanent basis. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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confederacy in Culture

Confederacy definition

The Confederate States of America; the government formed in 1861 by southern states that proclaimed their secession from the United States. Jefferson Davis was its president. The Confederacy was dissolved after the Civil War. (Compare Union.)

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