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federal

[fed-er-uh l] /ˈfɛd ər əl/
adjective
1.
pertaining to or of the nature of a union of states under a central government distinct from the individual governments of the separate states, as in federal government; federal system.
2.
of, pertaining to, or noting such a central government:
federal offices.
3.
(initial capital letter) U.S. History.
  1. of or pertaining to the Federalists or to the Federalist party.
  2. supporting the principles of the Federalist party.
  3. (in the Civil War) pertaining to or supporting the Union government.
  4. relating to or adhering to the support of the Constitution.
4.
(initial capital letter) pertaining to or designating the styles of the decorative arts and architecture current in the U.S. from c1780 to c1830.
5.
of or pertaining to a compact or a league, especially a league between nations or states.
noun
6.
an advocate of federation or federalism.
7.
(initial capital letter) U.S. History.
  1. a Federalist.
  2. an adherent of the Union government during the Civil War; Unionist.
  3. a soldier in the Federal army.
Origin
1635-1645
1635-45; earlier foederal < Latin foeder- (stem of foedus) league + -al1
Related forms
federally, adverb
federalness, noun
nonfederal, adjective
quasi-federal, adjective
quasi-federally, adverb
Can be confused
federal, national.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for federal
  • Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.
  • They were designed that way to comply with federal regulations for headlight height.
  • To get the federal debt down, they jacked up taxes and slashed spending.
  • But an undercover federal agent had ordered some orchids from him, a few of which arrived without the correct papers.
  • The academics discovered, in effect, that federal spending causes local businesses to shrink.
  • At the same time, the federal bench is being weakened by both stagnant salaries and frozen politics.
  • The provincial and federal governments are unsurprisingly supportive.
  • With them comes billions of dollars of federal student grants and loans, to be poured into corporate coffers.
  • The program could result in a significant federal investment in online education.
  • Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled.
British Dictionary definitions for federal

federal

/ˈfɛdərəl/
adjective
1.
of or relating to a form of government or a country in which power is divided between one central and several regional governments
2.
of or relating to a treaty between provinces, states, etc, that establishes a political unit in which power is so divided
3.
of or relating to the central government of a federation
4.
of or relating to any union or association of parties or groups that retain some autonomy
5.
(of a university) comprised of relatively independent colleges
noun
6.
a supporter of federal union or federation
Derived Forms
federally, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin foedus league

Federal

/ˈfɛdərəl/
adjective
1.
  1. of or relating to the Federalist party or Federalism
  2. characteristic of or supporting the Union government during the American Civil War
noun
2.
  1. a supporter of the Union government during the American Civil War
  2. a Federalist
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 federal
adj.

1640s, as a theological term, from French fédéral, from Latin foedus (genitive foederis) "covenant, league, treaty, alliance," related to fides "faith" (see faith).

Meaning "pertaining to a treaty" (1650s) led to political sense of "state formed by agreement among independent states" (1707), from phrases like federal union "union based on a treaty," popularized by formation of U.S.A. 1776-1787.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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