Definition of federation in English:



  • 1A group of states with a central government but independence in internal affairs.

    in names ‘the Russian Federation’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Montenegro sought increased autonomy within the federation and began making moves toward that goal.’
    • ‘Jospin sums up his own idea of Europe in the formula ‘a federation of nation states’.’
    • ‘To be sure, as the history of the European Union shows, there can be federalism without a federation.’
    • ‘The experts are unable to agree whether the EU is a federation, an international organization or something different.’
    • ‘Proposals that are not supported by both major political parties across the federation have no hope.’
    • ‘Moldova favored an asymmetrical federation in which power would be concentrated in the central government.’
    • ‘To have a federation of republics, there has to be a central federal authority, and that in itself can lead to problems.’
    • ‘It does not just lobby in Brussels, but through its members' national federations it also lobbies the 25 European national governments.’
    • ‘Democratic federations, unions and international organisations work best when they work with the least degree of external intrusion.’
    • ‘In 1991, Germany gave Croatia and Slovenia the green light to secede from the Yugoslav federation; civil war soon followed.’
    • ‘Equally, the entire North-East must be treated in all strategic respects as a single, unified entity, a federation within a federation.’
    • ‘Intergovernmentalists believe the EU should be a federation of nation states, and the focus of accountability should be national governments.’
    • ‘He was party general secretary in 1991, when Croatia claimed independence from the Yugoslav federation.’
    • ‘Macedonia, once part of the Yugoslav federation, is now independent.’
    • ‘The United States once had to move from a confederation to a federation.’
    • ‘If France and Germany act together, as a federation inside a federation, they can dominate Europe under the new constitution.’
    • ‘Everyone knows that the future lies in international cooperation, in federations or confederations of states.’
    alliance, association, coalition, confederation, league, faction, union, partnership, body, group, grouping
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    1. 1.1 An organization or group within which smaller divisions have some degree of internal autonomy.
      in names ‘the World Chess Federation’
      • ‘Although there have been job cuts in the public sector, public sector unions have become proportionately larger within the union federation.’
      • ‘The action, which is officially a one-day strike called by all the trade union federations and confederations, will be continued indefinitely by many workers.’
      • ‘It took decades for them to organise into federations of trade unions.’
      • ‘The international federation has organized regular sports events for organ recipients to advocate organ donation and transplant worldwide.’
      • ‘On Friday Bill Jordan, head of the international federation of trade unions led a group of less than 100 people in a silent protest as the trade talks began.’
      • ‘There is a power struggle going on in global sport between the owners of particular clubs, the national federations and the international organisations.’
      • ‘Also coming up is a federation cabaret and flower arranging display as well as the federation Christmas party taking place in December.’
      • ‘Balfour said yesterday that he recognised the autonomy of sports federations, but autonomy needed accountability and responsibility.’
      • ‘Will trade unions within the federation fund international work?’
      • ‘Large parts of Italy came to a standstill yesterday, when 13 million workers followed a call by the three main union federations for an eight-hour general strike.’
      • ‘The three major trade union federations in Italy have organised a four-hour general strike for Friday 24 October.’
      • ‘The main trade union federations and professional associations called protest demonstrations for Saturday.’
      • ‘In spite of these difficulties, a true federation of independent laboratories still does exist.’
      • ‘The union federations called six one-day general strikes in 18 months.’
      • ‘On March 21 several union federations launched a 24-hour general strike in Argentina.’
      • ‘This federation of Independent churches, now some 30-40 strong, has been successful in the south amongst the unchurched.’
      • ‘The bus workers belong to a federation of 63 unions with a total of more than 17,000 members.’
      • ‘A 36-hour general strike called by three union federations in Argentina virtually shut down the nation of 37 million inhabitants last week.’
      • ‘The idea is to target international sports federations and organisers to get them to bring high profile events to Ireland,’
      • ‘Union leaders at the executive council meeting did find common ground around dramatic proposals to strengthen state labor federations and central labor councils.’
      confederation, confederacy, federacy, league
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  • 2mass noun The action of forming states or organizations into a single group with centralized control.

    ‘a first step in the federation of Europe’
    • ‘And some type of federation, where all tribes, all people are represented, is the best hope that we can have for that country.’
    • ‘In a referendum in 1992, Montenegrins voted in favour of federation with Serbia and Kosovo.’
    • ‘And, contrary to the claims of the fathers of federation, Australian nationalism was not progressive.’
    • ‘This interpretation of the motives of the fathers of federation hardened later into an unshakable conviction.’
    • ‘The proposed European federation is unprecedented: no democracy has ever merged with another to form such an entity.’
    • ‘It goes to the heart of our founding fathers' vision of federation that all voices in all states of Australia be represented and have influence in Australian society.’
    • ‘Also, let's not kid ourselves about the roots of Australian nationalism, the fathers of federation and all the rest of it.’
    • ‘But by the time of Australian federation, nationalism had undergone a profound transformation.’


Early 18th century: from French fédération, from late Latin foederatio(n-), from the verb foederare ‘to ally’, from foedus ‘league’.