late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. confederacie
, from stem of L. confoederatio
, from confoederare
). Earliest in ref. to leages of classical Gk. 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 ref. 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]