Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A relatively large group of people organized under a single, usually independent government; a country.
  • n. The territory occupied by such a group of people: All across the nation, people are voting their representatives out.
  • n. The government of a sovereign state.
  • n. A people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language; a nationality: "Historically the Ukrainians are an ancient nation which has persisted and survived through terrible calamity” ( Robert Conquest).
  • n. A federation or tribe, especially one composed of Native Americans.
  • n. The territory occupied by such a federation or tribe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Damnation.
  • adv. Extremely; very
  • n. A historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, ethnicity and/or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture
  • n. (international law) A sovereign state.
  • n. an association of students based on their birthplace or ethnicity syn.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A part, or division, of the people of the earth, distinguished from the rest by common descent, language, or institutions; a race; a stock.
  • n. The body of inhabitants of a country, united under an independent government of their own.
  • n. Family; lineage.
  • n.
  • n. One of the divisions of university students in a classification according to nativity, formerly common in Europe.
  • n. One of the four divisions (named from the parts of Scotland) in which students were classified according to their nativity.
  • n. A great number; a great deal; -- by way of emphasis.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Very; extremely; by a vast deal: as, nation mean; nation pa'tie'lar.
  • n. In a broad sense, a race of people; an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, and speaking the same language or cognate languages.
  • n. In a narrower sense, a political society composed of a sovereign or government and subjects or citizens, and constituting a political unit; an organized community inhabiting a certain extent of territory, within which its sovereignty is exercised.
  • n. Hence A tribe, community, or congregation, whether of men or animals.
  • n. A division of students for voting purposes, according to their place of birth, as in the universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow, and formerly in that of Paris.
  • n. Race; species; family; lineage.
  • n. A great number; a multitude.
  • n. Synonyms and Race, etc. See people.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the people who live in a nation or country
  • n. United States prohibitionist who raided saloons and destroyed bottles of liquor with a hatchet (1846-1911)
  • n. a federation of tribes (especially Native American tribes)
  • n. a politically organized body of people under a single government

Etymologies

Middle English nacioun, from Old French nation, from Latin nātiō, nātiōn-, from nātus, past participle of nāscī, to be born; see genə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English nation, nacioun from Old French nation, nacion, from Latin nationem, accusative of natio, (g)natio ("nation, race, birth") from (g)natus, past participle stem of (g)nasci “to be born”. Displaced native Middle English theode, thede ("nation") (from Old English þēod), Middle English burthe ("birth, nation, race, nature"), Middle English leod, leode, lede ("people, race") (from Old English lēod). (Wiktionary)
Probably short for damnation. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Simply because America is the only nation that has used atomic weapons against another nation… and that there have been no such weapons used since, is no guarantee that it cannot happen again and in fact, is considered "acceptable" in some circles of Washington.

    Death Row

  • As Chancellor of the Exchequer he was the Minister most interested in knowing that Palmerston, Russell, and himself were banded together by mutual pledge to make the Confederacy a nation the next week, and that the Southern leaders had as yet no hope of “making a nation” but in them.

    Political Morality (1862)

  • Jews might hardly have been called by Jeremiah _an ancient nation, from of old a nation_, and in fact these phrases are wanting in the Greek version.

    Jeremiah : Being The Baird Lecture for 1922

  • An English _nation_ or set of students of the Faculty of Arts at Paris existed in 1169; after 1430 the name was changed to the German nation.

    Early English Meals and Manners

  • _nation_, or _state_, is a large number of persons united under some form of government; as, the French nation; the British nation; or the state of New-York; the state of Virginia.

    The Government Class Book Designed for the Instruction of Youth in the Principles of Constitutional Government and the Rights and Duties of Citizens.

  • "If the Doctor had been contented with the liberty he took of preaching up the duty of passive obedience in the most extensive manner he had thought fit, and would have stopped there, your Lordships would not have had the trouble in relation to him that you now have; but it is plain that he preached up his absolute and unconditional obedience, not _to continue the peace and tranquillity of this nation, but to set the subjects at strife, and to raise a war in the bowels of this nation_: and it is for _this_ that he is now prosecuted; though he would fain have it believed that the prosecution was for preaching the peaceable doctrine of absolute obedience."

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 04 (of 12)

  • "I repeat, 'Hell has no fury like a nation scorned' -- _Nation_, you hear, Pickles -- _nation_, not woman.

    A Strange Discovery

  • "The ultimate aim of the Czecho-Slovak National Council in Prague is postulated by the demand of these times: _to enlist for systematic work, to organise and lead the great spiritual, moral and national resources of the nation_ to that end which is the most sacred and inalienable right of every nation and which cannot and will not be denied also to our nation:

    Independent Bohemia An Account of the Czecho-Slovak Struggle for Liberty

  • Commonwealth, a free an '_equal_ member of a liberty-loving nation, a nation whose standard is, _now_ and forever,' Gimme liberty or gimme det ', a _nation_ that stands for all the conceivable benefits that mankind may enjoy, a _nation_ that scintillates pyrotechnically over the prostitution of power -- "

    Bar-20 Days

  • The fact that President Obama used the phrase "nation building at home" in his recent speech on the draw down of troops which I had promoted in the Huffington Post last fall is mildly encouraging.

    Derek Shearer: Obama and Rising Powers: Foreign Policy in Tough Economic Times

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  • An individual is as superb as a nation when he has the qualities which make a superb nation. The soul of the largest and wealthiest and proudest nation may well go half-way to meet that of its poets. Whitman, Preface 1855

    December 9, 2006