Definition of federation in US English:



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

    in names ‘should the world be governed by a Pax Americana or by a democratic UN federation?’
    • ‘Everyone knows that the future lies in international cooperation, in federations or confederations of states.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Equally, the entire North-East must be treated in all strategic respects as a single, unified entity, a federation within a federation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Proposals that are not supported by both major political parties across the federation have no hope.’
    • ‘The experts are unable to agree whether the EU is a federation, an international organization or something different.’
    • ‘If France and Germany act together, as a federation inside a federation, they can dominate Europe under the new constitution.’
    • ‘Macedonia, once part of the Yugoslav federation, is now independent.’
    • ‘Democratic federations, unions and international organisations work best when they work with the least degree of external intrusion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was party general secretary in 1991, when Croatia claimed independence from the Yugoslav federation.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Montenegro sought increased autonomy within the federation and began making moves toward that goal.’
    • ‘To be sure, as the history of the European Union shows, there can be federalism without 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 best tag team in the World Wrestling Federation’
      • ‘The idea is to target international sports federations and organisers to get them to bring high profile events to Ireland,’
      • ‘Will trade unions within the federation fund international work?’
      • ‘Balfour said yesterday that he recognised the autonomy of sports federations, but autonomy needed accountability and responsibility.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On March 21 several union federations launched a 24-hour general strike in Argentina.’
      • ‘It took decades for them to organise into federations of trade unions.’
      • ‘Union leaders at the executive council meeting did find common ground around dramatic proposals to strengthen state labor federations and central labor councils.’
      • ‘In spite of these difficulties, a true federation of independent laboratories still does exist.’
      • ‘Also coming up is a federation cabaret and flower arranging display as well as the federation Christmas party taking place in December.’
      • ‘The international federation has organized regular sports events for organ recipients to advocate organ donation and transplant worldwide.’
      • ‘This federation of Independent churches, now some 30-40 strong, has been successful in the south amongst the unchurched.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The union federations called six one-day general strikes in 18 months.’
      • ‘A 36-hour general strike called by three union federations in Argentina virtually shut down the nation of 37 million inhabitants last week.’
      • ‘Although there have been job cuts in the public sector, public sector unions have become proportionately larger within the union federation.’
      • ‘The main trade union federations and professional associations called protest demonstrations for Saturday.’
      • ‘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 bus workers belong to a federation of 63 unions with a total of more than 17,000 members.’
      confederation, confederacy, federacy, league
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    2. 1.2 The action of forming states or organizations into a single group with centralized control.
      ‘a first step in the federation of Europe’
      • ‘And, contrary to the claims of the fathers of federation, Australian nationalism was not progressive.’
      • ‘The proposed European federation is unprecedented: no democracy has ever merged with another to form such an entity.’
      • ‘And some type of federation, where all tribes, all people are represented, is the best hope that we can have for that country.’
      • ‘But by the time of Australian federation, nationalism had undergone a profound transformation.’
      • ‘This interpretation of the motives of the fathers of federation hardened later into an unshakable conviction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In a referendum in 1992, Montenegrins voted in favour of federation with Serbia and Kosovo.’


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