Definition of confederation in English:



  • 1An organization that consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance or league.

    ‘a confederation of trade unions’
    • ‘Italy has had three politically diverse and competing union confederations since the onset of the cold war.’
    • ‘As organizations, each national party is a decentralized and loose confederation of state parties and of other affiliated groups.’
    • ‘With the elements of national power coalescing at the tactical level of war, a loose confederation of governmental agencies at the combatant commander level is simply insufficient.’
    • ‘The actions were called by all seven of the main trade union confederations and all the parties of the left, including the Socialist Party.’
    • ‘Hours after the elections, the employers confederation demanded more liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation of the economy, as well as wage controls and cuts in public spending.’
    • ‘It needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, authoritarian governments in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies.’
    • ‘The stoppage was organised by one of the trade union confederations representing Alitalia employees.’
    • ‘The measures were endorsed by government and opposition parties, as well as the main trade union confederations, but were opposed by the independent union movements that are popular amongst public sector workers.’
    • ‘Currently, three confederations of peasant organizations work to promote peasants' interests in national public policy discussion and occasionally intervene to support peasants in land conflicts.’
    • ‘Membership in the Astronomical League, a confederation of amateurs and their organizations, has doubled in the last decade to 20,000 members.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Third, the semiconductor business is importantly shaped by confederations of producers banding together to promote technology standards.’
    • ‘It's a distinction that chafes Chinwe Okelu, former chair of the Mill Woods Presidents' Council, a confederation of community leagues.’
    • ‘So Britain and Spain had access to Indian groups and lent expertise in aiding Indian confederations and alliances.’
    • ‘I know that the legislation is not supported by the confederation of iwi in Tainu.’
    • ‘It is just one sign of both a blatant and subtle shift in strategy among the loose confederation of different organisations that make up the peace movement, now that war has started.’
    • ‘‘As soon as it is ready, we will give it to all member federations and confederations in order to show there is transparency and the figures given are not rumours,’ Blatter said.’
    • ‘The US party system is a loose confederation of parties drawn into a nominal two-party system.’
    • ‘Caritas is a confederation of organisations (local, national, and regional) to spread solidarity and social justice throughout the world.’
    • ‘Prior to the 19th century, the region's social structure - outside of a few major cities, including Baghdad - was organized primarily around relatively isolated tribal confederations.’
    alliance, league, confederacy, federation, association, coalition, combine, consortium, affiliation, conglomerate, cooperative, partnership, fellowship, syndicate, compact, band, group, circle, ring
    society, union
    consociation, sodality
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A more or less permanent union of countries with some or most political power vested in a central authority.
      ‘Canada became a confederation in 1867’
      • ‘From 1776 to 1789 the United States were a confederation; after 1789 it was a federal nation.’
      • ‘The development of modern Switzerland can be traced back to a confederation (loose political grouping) of several Alpine valley communities and states in the Middle Ages.’
      • ‘The conservative cantons refused to revise the 1815 Pact, which guaranteed their sovereignty and gave them more power within the confederation than their population and economy warranted.’
      • ‘But at the Congress of VIENNA Swiss control was restored and the European powers guaranteed the confederation's neutrality.’
      • ‘One day, he prophesied, ‘A European confederation will probably replace them.’’
      • ‘In one of Lien Chan's books, New Blueprint, New Dynamism, written in 2001, he declared the KMT's ultimate goal was unification with the mainland on the basis of a confederation.’
      • ‘In his latest book he argues for a Franco-German confederation that can enable Europe ‘to protect its interests.’’
      • ‘The United States once had to move from a confederation to a federation.’
      • ‘Federalism can be seen a compromise between the extreme concentration of power and a loose confederation of independent states for governing a variety of people usually in a large expanse of territory.’
      • ‘Peoples will know that they cannot become conquerors without losing their own liberty; that permanent confederations are the sole means of maintaining their independence; that they must seek security, not power.’
      • ‘Although Mongol-led confederations sometimes exercised wide political power over their conquered territories, their strength declined rapidly after the Mongol dynasty in China was overthrown in 1368.’
      • ‘First, Slovenia had the status of federal republic in Yugoslavia; then, in 1974, with the emergence of the self-management system, it became a confederation.’
      • ‘The EU at its present stage is neither a confederation nor a federation, but it is quite clear that European integration has fostered a system with a considerable degree of federalism.’
      • ‘The republic would remain in a loose confederation with Yugoslavia, the ultimatum continued, which should be renamed the ‘Association of the States of Serbia and Montenegro’.’
      • ‘On the surface, a confederation is a union of sovereign states, but, underneath, it holds the possibility of moving from independence to unification.’
      • ‘This is not a confederation of states; it is a unified nation.’
      • ‘The German language has a neat way of distinguishing between a loose confederation and a federal union.’
      • ‘In 1397 the chief men of the three countries met at Kalmar to arrange a basis for a permanent legal confederation (the Union of Galmar).’
      • ‘Everyone knows that the future lies in international cooperation, in federations or confederations of states.’
      • ‘Europe works best as a confederation, with provisional federal powers for acute problems, subject to expiration clauses.’
    2. 1.2The action of confederating or the state of being confederated.
      ‘a referendum on confederation’
      • ‘It gets weirder: funding was also denied to a producer who wanted to make a documentary about the Plains of Abraham because it took place before confederation.’
      • ‘On August 1, 1291, three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an act that later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland.’
      • ‘Beginning as a railway in the first century of Canadian confederation, it entered Canada's second century as a multi-model transport, industrial and financial enterprise.’
      • ‘Under the SPLM's proposed confederation, the south and north would establish their own constitutions, with a common non-religious political system in the capital city.’
      • ‘The justices stated unambiguously that Quebec has no legal right to secede unilaterally and that only a process of constitutional amendment can change Quebec's legal status within confederation.’
      • ‘Obviously Alberta puts a lot more into confederation than they get out, from a purely dollars and cents perspective.’
      • ‘Although they could challenge sedentary empires by a process of confederation, provided they maintained their mobile way of life, there was no way that these nomadic and sedentary empires could be regarded as like units.’
      • ‘The leaves disappeared from the penny only in 1967, when they were replaced by a rock dove to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of confederation.’
      • ‘The researchers attribute this apparent law-defying behavior to the banding together of variously dispersed magnons into a kind of quantum confederation.’
      • ‘‘But even our fathers of confederation are hard to name,’ continues Maddin.’
      • ‘In the Canadian capital, Ottawa, authorities snuffed and boarded up the Centennial Flame, which commemorates Canadian confederation, and erected barricades in anticipation of possible violence.’
      • ‘Canadians in all strata of society became greatly disturbed by this threat and looked for ways to draw the northwestern regions of North America into confederation.’
      • ‘His tireless advocacy of confederation with Canada paid off when a second referendum on 22 July 1948 closely approved incorporation with Canada.’
      • ‘As with point 1, I don't see what this has to do with strengthening Alberta's place in confederation.’
      • ‘Their historic encounter in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in June 2000 has initiated a thaw in relations that could lead, in time, to a confederation of the two Koreas and eventual reunification.’
      • ‘Albertans often feel they were sold out to protect Ontario consumers but that's the nature of confederation.’
      • ‘The cell's complex inner composition cannot function at all unless all the parts are simultaneously present, working in tightly integrated confederation.’
      • ‘This peculiar electoral strategy only makes sense when it is understood that their stated aim is not to form a government but to remove Quebec from confederation entirely.’
      • ‘This places confederation towards the strategic center of the unification-independence spectrum, something that may have a positive effect on domestic political competition and integration.’
      • ‘There has been devolution as well as confederation.’


Late Middle English: from Old French confederacion or late Latin confederatio(n-), from Latin confoederare, from con- together + foederare join in league with (from foedus league, treaty).