Definition of federation in English:



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

    in names ‘the Russian Federation’
    • ‘To be sure, as the history of the European Union shows, there can be federalism without a federation.’
    • ‘Democratic federations, unions and international organisations work best when they work with the least degree of external intrusion.’
    • ‘Jospin sums up his own idea of Europe in the formula ‘a federation of nation states’.’
    • ‘In 1991, Germany gave Croatia and Slovenia the green light to secede from the Yugoslav federation; civil war soon followed.’
    • ‘The experts are unable to agree whether the EU is a federation, an international organization or something different.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Montenegro sought increased autonomy within the federation and began making moves toward that goal.’
    • ‘Moldova favored an asymmetrical federation in which power would be concentrated in the central government.’
    • ‘Proposals that are not supported by both major political parties across the federation have no hope.’
    • ‘The United States once had to move from a confederation to a federation.’
    • ‘Intergovernmentalists believe the EU should be a federation of nation states, and the focus of accountability should be national governments.’
    • ‘Everyone knows that the future lies in international cooperation, in federations or confederations of states.’
    • ‘If France and Germany act together, as a federation inside a federation, they can dominate Europe under the new constitution.’
    • ‘He was party general secretary in 1991, when Croatia claimed independence from the Yugoslav federation.’
    • ‘To have a federation of republics, there has to be a central federal authority, and that in itself can lead to problems.’
    • ‘Macedonia, once part of the Yugoslav federation, is now independent.’
    • ‘Equally, the entire North-East must be treated in all strategic respects as a single, unified entity, a federation within a federation.’
    • ‘It does not just lobby in Brussels, but through its members' national federations it also lobbies the 25 European national governments.’
    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’
      • ‘The main trade union federations and professional associations called protest demonstrations for Saturday.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The union federations called six one-day general strikes in 18 months.’
      • ‘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 idea is to target international sports federations and organisers to get them to bring high profile events to Ireland,’
      • ‘The three major trade union federations in Italy have organised a four-hour general strike for Friday 24 October.’
      • ‘Although there have been job cuts in the public sector, public sector unions have become proportionately larger within the union federation.’
      • ‘In spite of these difficulties, a true federation of independent laboratories still does exist.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Also coming up is a federation cabaret and flower arranging display as well as the federation Christmas party taking place in December.’
      • ‘A 36-hour general strike called by three union federations in Argentina virtually shut down the nation of 37 million inhabitants last week.’
      • ‘Balfour said yesterday that he recognised the autonomy of sports federations, but autonomy needed accountability and responsibility.’
      • ‘There is a power struggle going on in global sport between the owners of particular clubs, the national federations and the international organisations.’
      • ‘Will trade unions within the federation fund international work?’
      • ‘On March 21 several union federations launched a 24-hour general strike in Argentina.’
      • ‘The international federation has organized regular sports events for organ recipients to advocate organ donation and transplant worldwide.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘This interpretation of the motives of the fathers of federation hardened later into an unshakable conviction.’
    • ‘Also, let's not kid ourselves about the roots of Australian nationalism, the fathers of federation and all the rest of it.’
    • ‘And, contrary to the claims of the fathers of federation, Australian nationalism was not progressive.’
    • ‘And some type of federation, where all tribes, all people are represented, is the best hope that we can have for that country.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a referendum in 1992, Montenegrins voted in favour of federation with Serbia and Kosovo.’
    • ‘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’.