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[ney-shuh n] /ˈneɪ ʃən/
a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own:
The president spoke to the nation about the new tax.
the territory or country itself:
the nations of Central America.
a member tribe of an American Indian confederation.
an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, often speaking the same language or cognate languages.
Origin of nation
1250-1300; Middle English < Latin nātiōn- (stem of nātiō) birth, tribe, equivalent to nāt(us) (past participle of nāscī to be born) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nationhood, noun
nationless, adjective
internation, adjective
minination, noun
supernation, noun
1. See race2 . 2. state, commonwealth, kingdom, realm. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nations
  • Mckinley spoke about the links that should exist between the two nations.
  • Many nations and some irregular armed groups deploy or have deployed combat frogmen.
  • Special cases a permanent observer of the holy see to the united nations.
  • The ussr was one of the first nations to recognize the new country.
  • The naval equivalent to a major is, in some nations, the rank of lieutenant commander.
  • They are not easily, readily imported and exported between nations either.
  • In some nations coast defence artillery was a naval responsibility.
  • Shipbuilding is therefore an attractive industry for developing nations.
  • Since then, similar societies have been organized in several other nations.
  • The united nations environment programme lists an unconfirmed species, betta cf.
British Dictionary definitions for nations


an aggregation of people or peoples of one or more cultures, races, etc, organized into a single state: the Australian nation
a community of persons not constituting a state but bound by common descent, language, history, etc: the French-Canadian nation
  1. a federation of tribes, esp American Indians
  2. the territory occupied by such a federation
Derived Forms
nationhood, noun
nationless, adjective
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin nātiō birth, tribe, from nascī to be born
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 nations



c.1300, from Old French nacion "birth, rank; descendants, relatives; country, homeland" (12c.) and directly from Latin nationem (nominative natio) "birth, origin; breed, stock, kind, species; race of people, tribe," literally "that which has been born," from natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus). Political sense has gradually predominated, but earliest English examples inclined toward the racial meaning "large group of people with common ancestry." Older sense preserved in application to North American Indian peoples (1640s). Nation-building first attested 1907 (implied in nation-builder).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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