One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A subdivision of a state, nation, country, etc.; a subsidiary state, territory, etc., within a larger political entity, with varying degrees of autonomy depending on the context.
2A state of existence regarded as a subdivision or component of another state; (Physics) a quantum state that is a subdivision of a more broadly defined state.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Louisville (Kentucky) Public Advertiser. From sub- + state.
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