Definition of federal in English:



  • 1Having or relating to a system of government in which several states form a unity but remain independent in internal affairs.

    ‘a federal Europe’
    • ‘Within a federal system of government, there is now a national Bill of Rights.’
    • ‘Since the provinces won't, the federal government should take up the students' case.’
    • ‘Has there been a new era of provincial partnership with the federal government?’
    • ‘That said, the funds are unlikely to approach the level of transfers found in traditional federal systems.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the federal government restricts more and more public land for natural gas development.’
    • ‘The Justice Department, an arm of the federal government, is now enforcing religious doctrine.’
    • ‘Public housing has been starved of funds by successive federal and state governments.’
    • ‘Yet the local, regional and federal governments appear to have taken no precautions.’
    • ‘If the federal government had a real interest in defending its own cities, then it could have done so.’
    • ‘Some 95 percent of its budget is derived from a variety of federal government funding.’
    • ‘The takeover of all branches of the federal government by the extreme right is now virtually complete.’
    • ‘Chancellor Schröder played the key role in shifting the federal government to support the ban.’
    • ‘He therefore rejected their claims for compensation from the federal government.’
    • ‘Guinn's concerns have been supported by data collected by the federal government itself.’
    • ‘He is touted for setting up a program for formerly uninsured workers at no cost to the federal government.’
    • ‘It would help cement a close working relationship with the federal government in the future, she said.’
    • ‘Although the federal government has not challenged the ruling, it has failed to comply with it.’
    • ‘At present, however, the federal government has no power to deploy troops unilaterally.’
    • ‘Do you mean, what about regional devolution like that which might occur under a federal European government?’
    • ‘Three big problems make it hard for the federal government to attract top talent.’
  • 2Relating to or denoting the central government as distinguished from the separate units constituting a federation.

    ‘the health ministry has sole federal responsibility for health care’
    • ‘Drinking alcohol is theoretically illegal in India under the terms of the federal constitution.’
    • ‘He had been a distinguished federal judge on the second most powerful court in the nation.’
    • ‘In one case federal money was provided to help monitor the police.’
    • ‘The president should let all federal agencies know that reining in regulations is a priority.’
    • ‘The fact that a matter might or might not give rise to a claim under federal jurisdiction does not constitute it as a claim.’
    • ‘The federal agency is best known for guiding judges to set consistent prison terms.’
    • ‘None of them wants to give up federal funding and take responsibility for their own policies.’
    • ‘If state law allows for direct access, then why should a federal agency deny payment?’
    • ‘Because of the mix of state and federal responsibilities the politics of obesity are complex indeed.’
    • ‘Almost $46m has already been disbursed by the federal emergency management agency.’
    • ‘It will make a mockery of the federal judiciary constitutional structure and religions.’
    • ‘The leading role in it should be taken by federal agencies of the defense sectors of industry.’
    • ‘Other federal departments and agencies have been slower to embark on official histories.’
    • ‘For a start, some may criticize the combination of federal and state data.’
    • ‘Nor did their training and effort constitute federal service, and thereby qualify them for future benefit.’
    • ‘Keyes is right that the burden of responsibility should fall on federal shoulders.’
    • ‘Many, but not all, of the states with income taxes link them to the federal income tax.’
    • ‘The prisons retain a federal connection to the central administration in Moscow.’
    • ‘They have said they want to reduce the pensions of privileged federal civil servants and use the money for social programmes.’
    • ‘The state of Vermont has filed a lawsuit against the federal agency over the issue.’
    confederate, federated, federative
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1US historical Relating to the northern states in the Civil War.
      • ‘The battle came as the Northern Federal government led by Abraham Lincoln was on the verge of defeat.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin foedus, foeder- ‘league, covenant’ + -al.