Definition of federal in US English:



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

    ‘Russia's federation treaty shares powers among Russia's federal and local governments’
    • ‘He is touted for setting up a program for formerly uninsured workers at no cost to the federal government.’
    • ‘Three big problems make it hard for the federal government to attract top talent.’
    • ‘Some 95 percent of its budget is derived from a variety of federal government funding.’
    • ‘That said, the funds are unlikely to approach the level of transfers found in traditional federal systems.’
    • ‘He therefore rejected their claims for compensation from the federal government.’
    • ‘Yet the local, regional and federal governments appear to have taken no precautions.’
    • ‘At present, however, the federal government has no power to deploy troops unilaterally.’
    • ‘If the federal government had a real interest in defending its own cities, then it could have done so.’
    • ‘Chancellor Schröder played the key role in shifting the federal government to support the ban.’
    • ‘Do you mean, what about regional devolution like that which might occur under a federal European government?’
    • ‘Guinn's concerns have been supported by data collected by the federal government itself.’
    • ‘It would help cement a close working relationship with the federal government in the future, she said.’
    • ‘The Justice Department, an arm of the federal government, is now enforcing religious doctrine.’
    • ‘Within a federal system of government, there is now a national Bill of Rights.’
    • ‘Although the federal government has not challenged the ruling, it has failed to comply with it.’
    • ‘Since the provinces won't, the federal government should take up the students' case.’
    • ‘Public housing has been starved of funds by successive federal and state governments.’
    • ‘Has there been a new era of provincial partnership with the federal government?’
    • ‘On the other hand, the federal government restricts more and more public land for natural gas development.’
    • ‘The takeover of all branches of the federal government by the extreme right is now virtually complete.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to or denoting the central government as distinguished from the separate units constituting a federation.
      ‘the federal agency that provides legal services to the poor’
      • ‘The prisons retain a federal connection to the central administration in Moscow.’
      • ‘The leading role in it should be taken by federal agencies of the defense sectors of industry.’
      • ‘Many, but not all, of the states with income taxes link them to the federal income tax.’
      • ‘If state law allows for direct access, then why should a federal agency deny payment?’
      • ‘For a start, some may criticize the combination of federal and state data.’
      • ‘In one case federal money was provided to help monitor the police.’
      • ‘Other federal departments and agencies have been slower to embark on official histories.’
      • ‘The fact that a matter might or might not give rise to a claim under federal jurisdiction does not constitute it as a claim.’
      • ‘Drinking alcohol is theoretically illegal in India under the terms of the federal constitution.’
      • ‘They have said they want to reduce the pensions of privileged federal civil servants and use the money for social programmes.’
      • ‘It will make a mockery of the federal judiciary constitutional structure and religions.’
      • ‘Almost $46m has already been disbursed by the federal emergency management agency.’
      • ‘None of them wants to give up federal funding and take responsibility for their own policies.’
      • ‘He had been a distinguished federal judge on the second most powerful court in the nation.’
      • ‘The federal agency is best known for guiding judges to set consistent prison terms.’
      • ‘The president should let all federal agencies know that reining in regulations is a priority.’
      • ‘The state of Vermont has filed a lawsuit against the federal agency over the issue.’
      • ‘Because of the mix of state and federal responsibilities the politics of obesity are complex indeed.’
      • ‘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.’
      confederate, federated, federative
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Relating to or denoting the central government of the US.
      • ‘Congressional districts, states and counties should develop programs with Federal support.’
      • ‘The federal government hadn't funded them, but they were trying to carry on.’
      • ‘This figure is nearly four times the number that the federal government admits.’
      • ‘It is a federal responsibility and for the States to intrude in a general way makes for uncertainty.’
      • ‘We also need to get the Federal government out of a whole range of areas they simply do not belong.’
      • ‘However, it was short of money from the first and many in federal agencies were far too conservative to give it their support.’
      • ‘Funding for the programs is shared between the federal government and the states.’
      • ‘Many of these training programmes are provided free of charge by state and federal government agencies.’
      • ‘Others mocked it as a paper bullet that only freed slaves in areas where the federal government had no authority.’
      • ‘His scam and others of a similar nature came to the notice of Federal authorities in the early Nineties.’
      • ‘The prospect of reforming the Electoral College goes to the heart of the federal structure of the United States.’
      • ‘The federal government says about half of your schools are failing to make the grade.’
      • ‘This week the US Senate will vote through a Bill banning all federal agencies from buying services in from abroad.’
      • ‘It seems that the federal government is stipulating that either couples be married or they prove their relationship.’
      • ‘The mayor requested Federal assistance and an evacuation program several days before the event.’
      • ‘Much of the debate focused on what federal agency would house such a large new program.’
    3. 1.3US historical Of the northern states in the Civil War.
      ‘a loud Federal cheer was heard, proving Stonewall to be hard pressed’
      • ‘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.