Definition of confederacy in English:



  • 1A league or alliance, especially of confederate states.

    • ‘The English and the nascent Indian confederacies realized that cooperation would best serve their respective interests.’
    • ‘It acted as a confederacy of socialist political organisations and operated through a number of ‘co-ordinating bodies’ - some permanent, some ad-hoc.’
    • ‘His uncle, who had shaped his career, was the foreign intelligence chief for the confederacy, during the Civil War - a man of traitorous inclinations, shall we say?’
    • ‘Maybe it is a federation or a confederacy with a system of power division?’
    • ‘In other words, a person cannot be domiciled in a federation or confederacy.’
    • ‘Confederation facilitated joint warfare against other nations and confederacies in the region.’
    • ‘This description was appropriate for a man who made his fortune trading with the native Indians in the Mohawk valley and the nations of the Iroquois confederacy.’
    • ‘The constitution was expected by the hopeful to settle the issue between confederacy and federation.’
    • ‘The town of Misarata, with the support of the powerful Bedouin tribal allies of the Wafallah confederacy, challenged Tripoli's hegemony.’
    • ‘The Indonesian Government, and the Indonesian Military, are not monolithic organisations, each is composed of power blocks: more a loose confederacy of power bases controlled by different ruling families.’
    • ‘At any rate, this argument is only partially true since the republic set up by the Iroquois confederacy predates Canadian confederation.’
    • ‘He had to abandon his party's policy of reconstruction in the South, handing the old confederacy back to its white state governments.’
    • ‘Regional tensions between chiefs from each of the three traditional confederacies have played a part.’
    • ‘The co-chair called for a five-minute break so each region could consult and decide who would be the voting delegates for the confederacy and who would not.’
    • ‘‘For thousands of years before Confederation we were living here, thriving and conducting the business of our nations within our own confederacies and confederations,’ he said.’
    • ‘Already they were a confederacy of states with some forms of representative assemblies, however limited their powers, of citizens who wished to be independent of arbitrary external rule.’
    • ‘The Wampanoag were members of a widespread confederacy of Algonkian-speaking peoples known as the League of the Delaware.’
    • ‘Caught between old allegiances to the empire, on the one hand, and patriot neighbours, on the other, the confederacy splintered.’
    • ‘They were actually not so much a nation as a confederacy that welcomed new member tribes, even those of a different linguistic and cultural background.’
    • ‘Estrella had never heard any of these words before, and she hadn't the slightest idea of what a federation or a confederacy was.’
    federation, confederation, alliance, league, association, coalition, combine, consortium, conglomerate, cooperative, partnership, syndicate, compact, band, group, circle, ring
    bloc, axis
    society, union, guild, fellowship
    consociation, sodality
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
    2. 1.2An alliance of people or groups formed for an illicit purpose.
      • ‘The wicked are being bound up in bundles, bound up in trusts, in unions, in confederacies.’
      • ‘Rapidly evolving technology and the independent decisions of members of the department confederacy assure that enterprise-wide interoperability will not occur soon.’
      • ‘The question then becomes: What was this confederacy of dunces doing to earn its massive paydays?’
      • ‘For this has been the year of my initiation into what I'm discovering only now is an elite club, a secret society, an unofficial confederacy the existence of which I was up till now blithely unaware.’
      • ‘The problem for natural individuals, Hobbes wrote, is that ‘the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others.’’


Late Middle English: from Old French confederacie, based on Latin confoederare join together in league (see confederation).