Definition of confederation in English:


Line breaks: con|fed¦er|ation
Pronunciation: /kənfɛdəˈreɪʃ(ə)n


  • 1An organization which consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance or league: a confederation of trade unions
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    • The actions were called by all seven of the main trade union confederations and all the parties of the left, including the Socialist Party.
    • As organizations, each national party is a decentralized and loose confederation of state parties and of other affiliated groups.
    • 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.
  • 1.1A more or less permanent union of states with some or most political power vested in a central authority: Canada became a confederation in 1867
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    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
  • 1.2 [mass noun] The action of confederating or the state of being confederated: a referendum on confederation
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    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The leaves disappeared from the penny only in 1967, when they were replaced by a rock dove to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of 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').

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