A nation is a country and its people. It's also the word used for the Native American tribal federations in the US — the Cherokee Nation, for instance — which have their own governments and territories.

Nation comes from the Latin root nat-, which means "born" — the neonatal unit in a hospital is where the newborn babies are cared for. You can also use nation more loosely for ethnic or religious groups: you might speak of "the Jewish nation," meaning not just the country, or nation, of Israel, but Jews all over the world. The Nation of Islam is an African-American Muslim group.

Definitions of nation

n a politically organized body of people under a single government

“African nations
“students who had come to the nation's capitol”
body politic, commonwealth, country, land, res publica, state
Tamil Eelam
the independent state that the Tamil Tigers have fought for
an ancient city state on the north African coast near modern Tunis; founded by Phoenicians; destroyed and rebuilt by Romans; razed by Arabs in 697
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commonwealth country
any of the countries in the British Commonwealth
developing country
a country that is poor and whose citizens are mostly agricultural workers but that wants to become more advanced socially and economically
one of the self-governing nations in the British Commonwealth
foreign country
any state of which one is not a citizen
the German state
renegade state, rogue nation, rogue state
a state that does not respect other states in its international actions
a state exercising a degree of dominion over a dependent state especially in its foreign affairs
sea power
a nation that possesses formidable naval strength
great power, major power, power, superpower, world power
a state powerful enough to influence events throughout the world
city state, city-state
a state consisting of a sovereign city
a friendly nation
Hohenzollern empire, Second Reich
the Reich when Hohenzollern monarchs ruled Germany (from 1871 to 1919)
Nazi Germany, Third Reich
the Nazi dictatorship under Hitler (1933-1945)
a leading or paramount power
Type of:
political entity, political unit
a unit with political responsibilities

n a federation of tribes (especially Native American tribes)

“the Shawnee nation
federation of tribes, tribe
a federation (as of American Indians)
Type of:
confederacy, confederation, federation
a union of political organizations

n 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
country, land
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Dutch, Dutch people
the people of the Netherlands
British, British people, Brits
the people of Great Britain
English, English people
the people of England
Irish, Irish people
people of Ireland or of Irish extraction
French, French people
the people of France
Spanish, Spanish people
the people of Spain
Swiss, Swiss people
the natives or inhabitants of Switzerland
a native or inhabitant of Friesland or Frisia
a native or resident of Geneva
Type of:
(plural) any group of human beings (men or women or children) collectively

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