1. A group of persons politically organized under a single governmental authority
2. A people considered as a collective unit
The official name of some states in the United States (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky), and associated territories (Puerto Rico).
A state; a body politic consisting of a certain number of men, united, by compact or tacit agreement, under one form of government and system of laws.
ETYM French contrée, Late Lat. contrata, from Latin contra over against, on the opposite side. Related to Counter, Contra.
1. An area outside of cities and towns; SYN. rural area.
2. The territory occupied by a nation; SYN. state, land, nation.
ETYM French, from Latin imperium a command, sovereignty, dominion, empire, from imperare. Related to Emperor; cf. Imperial.
1. A group of countries under a single authority.
2. A monarchy with an emperor as head of state.
3. The domain ruled by an emperor or empress.
ETYM French nation, Latin natio nation, race, orig., a being born, from natus, p. p. of nasci, to be born, for gnatus, gnasci, from the same root as Eng. kin. Related to Kin kindred, and cf. Cognate, Natal, Native.
1. A federation of tribes (especially native American tribes).
2. The people of a nation or country or a community of persons bound by a common heritage; SYN. nationality, land, country, a people.
1. A politically organized body of people under a single government; SYN. nation, country, land, commonwealth, res publica, body politic.
2. The territory occupied by one of the constituent administrative districts of a nation; SYN. province.
3. The group of people comprising the government of a sovereign state
4. The way something is with respect to its main attributes
5. (Informal) A state of depression or agitation
Territory that forms its own domestic and foreign policy, acting through laws that are typically decided by a government and carried out, by force if necessary, by agents of that government. It can be argued that growth of regional international bodies such as the European Union (formerly the European Community) means that states no longer enjoy absolute sovereignty.
Although most states are members of the United Nations, this is not a completely reliable criterion: some are not members by choice, like Switzerland; some have been deliberately excluded, like Taiwan; and some are members but do not enjoy complete national sovereignty. The classic definition of a state is given by R M MacIver (The Modern State 1926): “An association which, acting through law as promulgated by a government endowed to this end with coercive power, maintains within a community territorially demarcated the universal external conditions of social order.” There are four essential elements in this definition: that people have formed an association to create and preserve social order; that the community comprising the state is clearly defined in territorial terms; that the government representing the people acts according to promulgated laws; and that it has power to enforce these laws.
Today, the state is seen as the nation state so that any community that has absolute sovereignty over a specific area is a state. Thus the so-called states of the us, which are to some degree subject to the will of the federal government, are not states in international terms, nor are colonial or similar possessions, which, too, are subject to an overriding authority.