(1)   The people who live in a nation or country
"A statement that sums up the nation's mood"
"The news was announced to the nation"
"The whole country worshipped him"
(2)   A politically organized body of people under a single government
"The state has elected a new president"
"African nations"
"Students who had come to the nation's capitol"
"The country's largest manufacturer"
"An industrialized land"
(3)   A federation of tribes (especially native American tribes)
"The Shawnee nation"
(4)   United States prohibitionist who raided saloons and destroyed bottles of liquor with a hatchet (1846-1911)

Etymology 1

nation, nacioun from nation, nacion from nationem, accusative of natio, (g)natio "nation, race, birth" from (g)natus, past participle stem of (g)nasci “to be born”. Displaced native theode, thede "nation" (from þēod), burthe "birth, nation, race, nature", leod, leode, lede "people, race" (from lēod).


  1. A group of people sharing aspects of language, culture and/or ethnicity.
    The Roma are a nation without a country.
  2. A historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture
    The Kurdish people constitute a nation in the Middle East
  3. (international law) A sovereign state.
    Though legally single nations, many states comprise several distinct cultural or ethnic groups.

Usage notes

Following the establishment of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, England, Scotland and Wales are normally considered distinct nations. Application of the term nation to the United Kingdom as a whole is deprecated in most style guides, including the BBC, most newspapers and in UK Government publications. Northern Ireland, being of less clear legal status, generally remains a province.
Related terms

See also


  1. Extremely; very
    I'm nation sorry for you. -- Mark Twain