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

  • n. The act of uniting or the state of being united.
  • n. A combination so formed, especially an alliance or confederation of people, parties, or political entities for mutual interest or benefit.
  • n. Mathematics A set, every member of which is an element of one or another of two or more given sets.
  • n. Agreement or harmony resulting from the uniting of individuals; concord.
  • n. The state of matrimony; marriage: "The element that was to make possible such a union was trust in each other's love” ( Kate Chopin).
  • n. Sexual intercourse.
  • n. A combination of parishes for joint administration of relief for the poor in Great Britain.
  • n. A workhouse maintained by such a union.
  • n. A labor union.
  • n. A coupling device for connecting parts, such as pipes or rods.
  • n. A device on a flag or ensign, occupying the upper inner corner or the entire field, that signifies the union of two or more sovereignties.
  • n. An organization at a college or university that provides facilities for recreation; a student union.
  • n. A building housing such facilities.
  • n. The United States of America regarded as a national unit, especially during the Civil War.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or loyal to the United States of America during the Civil War: a Union soldier.
  • adj. Of or relating to a labor union or labor union organizing: the union movement; union negotiations.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of uniting or joining two or more things into one.
  • n. The state of being united or joined.
  • n. That which is united, or made one; something formed by a combination or coalition of parts or members; a confederation; a consolidated body; a league.
  • n. A joint or other connection uniting parts of machinery, such as pipes.
  • n. The set containing all of the elements of two or more sets.
  • n. The act or state of marriage.
  • n. Sexual intercourse.
  • n. A data structure that can store any of various items, but only one at a time.
  • n. A large, high-quality pearl.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of uniting or joining two or more things into one, or the state of being united or joined; junction; coalition; combination.
  • n. Agreement and conjunction of mind, spirit, will, affections, or the like; harmony; concord.
  • n. That which is united, or made one; something formed by a combination or coalition of parts or members; a confederation; a consolidated body; a league.
  • n. A textile fabric composed of two or more materials, as cotton, silk, wool, etc., woven together.
  • n. A large, fine pearl.
  • n. A device emblematic of union, used on a national flag or ensign, sometimes, as in the military standard of Great Britain, covering the whole field; sometimes, as in the flag of the United States, and the English naval and marine flag, occupying the upper inner corner, the rest of the flag being called the fly. Also, a flag having such a device; especially, the flag of Great Britain.
  • n. A joint or other connection uniting parts of machinery, or the like, as the elastic pipe of a tender connecting it with the feed pipe of a locomotive engine; especially, a pipe fitting for connecting pipes, or pipes and fittings, in such a way as to facilitate disconnection.
  • n. A cask suspended on trunnions, in which fermentation is carried on.
  • n. the act by which Scotland was united to England, or by which the two kingdoms were incorporated into one, in 1707.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of joining two or more things into one, and thus forming a compound body or a mixture; the state of being united; junction; coalition; combination: as, the union of soul and body.
  • n. In zoology, anatomy, and bot.: The state of close and immediate connection of parts, organs, or tissues, especially of like parts, or the process of becoming so united; a growing together or its result, as in the different cases of symphysis, synostosis, synchrondrosis, ankylosis, confluence, concrescence, coalescence, conjugation, anastomosis, syzygy, zygosis, and the like. See the distinctive words.
  • n. The connection of two or several individuals in a compound organism, as of several zoöids in a zoanthodeme.
  • n. Matrimony; the matrimonial relation, married state, or conjugal bond.
  • n. Concord; agreement and conjunction of mind, will, affections, or interest; harmony.
  • n. That which is united or made into one; something formed by a combination of various parts or individual things or persons; an aggregate of united parts; a coalition; a combination; a confederation; a league.
  • n. A confederacy of two or more nations, or of the various states of a nation: in this sense the United States of America is sometimes called by way of preëminence “The Union.”
  • n. In England and Ireland, two or more parishes consolidated into one for the better administration of the poor-laws. It is in the discretion of the Local Government Board to consolidate any two or more parishes into one union under a single board of guardians elected by the owners and ratepayers of the component parishes. Each union has a common workhouse, and all the cost of the relief of the poor is charged upon the common fund.
  • n. Two or more parishes or contiguous benefices consolidated into one for ecclesiastical purposes.
  • n. An association of independent churches, generally either Congregational or Baptist, for the purpose of promoting mutual fellowship and cooperation in Christian work. It differs from most ecclesiastical bodies in possessing no authority over the churches which unite in it.
  • n. A permanent combination among workmen engaged in the same occupation or trade. See trade-union.
  • n. A union workhouse; a workhouse erected and maintained at the joint expense of parishes which have been formed into a union: in Scotland called a combination poor-house.
  • n. That part of a flag which occupies the upper corner next the staff when it is distinguished from the rest in color or pattern, as in the flag of the United States, where it is blue with white stars, or in the flag of Great Britain; the jack.
  • n. A flag showing the union only. See union flag and union jack, below.
  • n. A joint, screw, or other connection uniting parts of machinery, or the like; a kind of coupling for connecting tubes together.
  • n. A textile fabric of several materials, or of different kinds of thread.
  • n. A shallow vat or tray in which partly fermented beer is kept to complete its fermentation or to cleanse itself.
  • n. A large fine pearl.
  • n. A statute of 1535-6, enacting the political union of Wales to England.
  • n. A statute of 1706, uniting the kingdoms of England and Scotland on and after May 1st, 1707.
  • n. A statute of 1800, which united the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland on and after January 1st, 1801.
  • n. =Syn. 1-3. Union, Unity, Junction, Connection. Union is the act of bringing two or more together so as to make but one: as, the union of the Mississippi and the Missouri; union in marriage; or it is the state resulting, or the product of the act: as, the American Union. Unity is only the state of oneness, whether there has or has not been previous distinctness: as, the unity of God, the unity of faith, unity of feeling, interest, labor. Junction expresses not simply collocation, but a real and physical bringing into one. Union and junction differ from connection in that the last does not necessarily imply contact: there may be connection between houses by a portico or walk. It is literal to speak of the connection, and figurative to speak of the union, of England and America by a telegraphic cable.
  • Of or pertaining to a union or to the Union (see I., 5 ); in favor of the Union: as, the Union party; Union principles; Union sympathies.
  • A member of a trade-union.
  • n. In mech.: A device for connecting the ends of two pipes in a line, without turning either.

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

  • adj. being of or having to do with the northern United States and those loyal to the Union during the American Civil War
  • n. an organization of employees formed to bargain with the employer
  • n. a political unit formed from previously independent people or organizations
  • n. the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce)
  • n. healing process involving the growing together of the edges of a wound or the growing together of broken bones
  • n. the act of making or becoming a single unit
  • adj. of trade unions
  • n. the state of being joined or united or linked
  • n. a set containing all and only the members of two or more given sets
  • n. the act of pairing a male and female for reproductive purposes
  • n. a device on a national flag emblematic of the union of two or more sovereignties (typically in the upper inner corner)
  • n. the occurrence of a uniting of separate parts
  • n. the United States (especially the northern states during the American Civil War)


Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin ūniō, ūniōn-, from Latin ūnus, one.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French union, from Late Latin unionem, from Latin ūnus ("one") (Wiktionary)


  • In the face of the defiant position of the Anjouanese in favour of the dismemberment of the Union of the Comores, the OAU had no alternative but to authorise a variety of measures that would compel them back into the union.

    ANC Today

  • The first President Bush used “sound and strong” in 1990, combining Nixon-Carter with Reagan, but the following year departed from tradition to use the word union in a sense that illuminated his “thousand points of light”: “The state of our Union is the union of each of us, one to the other—the sum of our friendships, marriages, families and communities.”

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • The fact is, the compromise alluded to, instead of effecting a union, rendered it impracticable; unless by the term union are to understand the absolute reign of the slaveholding power over the whole country, to the prostration of Northern rights.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • The fact is, the compromise alluded to, instead of effecting a union, rendered it impracticable; unless by the term union we are to understand the absolute reign of the slaveholding power over the whole country, to the prostration of Northern rights.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • We talk about everything and one of the best parts of our union is our love of working jointly on projects together.

    ame soeur - French Word-A-Day

  • Though the word "union" is used to score ideological points in some circles, the editorial fails to explain why unionized workers, as much as any other workers, don't deserve their country's support when their jobs go overseas.

    Keep Trade Adjustment Assistance

  • Everything about the nature and the mandated content (presidents may not report much, but the speeches are still full of recommendations) implies the state of the union is a political question.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The State of the Union Clause

  • Baltimore's Ray Lewis and Arizona's Darnell Dockett also responded to Cromartie's Monday rant, in which he called union leaders "a-holes."

    I Will Smash Your Face In

  • I bet you those members of that union, you know the ones with proper vacation time, insuraqnce benefits, medical day off would dispute your claim that the union is a mob, but Reagan fooled all of you dumb people into believing that trickle down economics is the way to go, not the unions ...

    Steelworkers union backs Obama

  • Honeywell opted not to let the union employees work without a contract, citing the lack of bargaining progress and what it called the union's refusal to agree to provide 24 hours of notice before any strike.

    In Superman's Hometown, A Bitter Labor Dispute


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  • Maybe 'tis easier to, or perhapnotstance, to keep an iin than to keep an iout for the joins.

    December 11, 2011

  • or perhapstance an iin vis-a-vis to an iout?

    December 10, 2011

  • Surely that would be ioff?

    December 9, 2011

  • the opposite of ion.

    December 9, 2011

  • Not an onion.

    December 9, 2011

  • a large pearl

    November 22, 2010

  • rent-seeking labour cartel

    June 10, 2008