Definition of state in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /steɪt/


1The particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time: the state of the company’s finances we’re worried about her state of mind
More example sentences
  • And final confirmation of my poor state of mind from lack of sleep came when Mark returned from going out.
  • At times she is combative, at times submissive, according to the situation and her state of mind.
  • A positive state of mind is also thought to be of great help in protecting against such problems.
mood, humour, temper, disposition, spirits, morale, state of mind, emotional state, frame of mind, attitude;
condition, shape
1.1A physical condition as regards internal or molecular form or structure: water in a liquid state
More example sentences
  • It may absorb radiation and change its internal energy states.
  • All matter generally exists in one of three physical phase states commonly described as solid, liquid, or gas.
  • It can only obtain a liquid state under very high pressure in a containment vessel.
1.2 (a state) informal An agitated or anxious condition: don’t get into a state
More example sentences
  • One day one of his students came to see him in a state of some agitation.
  • Eric is hopping about in a state of excited agitation.
  • He became fearful and went back into the bedroom in a state of agitation, his heart beating loudly.
fluster, flutter, frenzy, fever, fret, panic, state of agitation, state of anxiety, nervous state, distressed state
informal flap, tizzy, tiz-woz, twitter, dither, stew, sweat
North American informal twit
1.3 informal A dirty or untidy condition: look at the state of you—what a mess!
More example sentences
  • Sometimes the pool areas and the cubicles were in a disgustingly dirty state.
  • The couple have paid the charges since they bought the flat but have been complaining to the council about the state of the communal area.
  • But now parish councillors have heard that he has written to complain about the state of the area's toilets.
untidiness, mess, untidy state, chaos, disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, clutter, muddle, heap, shambles, tangle, mishmash;
informal muck
British informal omnishambles, car crash
1.4 Physics short for quantum state.
Example sentences
  • States obtained in this way are called mixed states, as opposed to pure states, which cannot be described as a mixture of others.
  • An arbitrary evolution of its quantum state can be programmed with a series of microwave pulses, and a projective measurement of the state can be performed by a pulsed readout subcircuit.
2A nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government: Germany, Italy, and other European states
More example sentences
  • In other words, Europe has been weak wherever individual countries acted as national states.
  • We need a strong partnership with the Commonwealth and all other states and territories.
  • Empires generally expect neighboring states and dependencies to accept their power and accommodate to it.
2.1An organized political community or area forming part of a federal republic: the German state of Bavaria
More example sentences
  • Mexico is a federal republic, consisting of thirty one states and one federal district.
  • As you know, she and the president have been making their rounds throughout the various states and the areas that were hardest hit.
  • Your vote is still counted and since we have an electorial college it allows for people in smaller states and from rural areas to have a vote as well.
2.2 (the States) informal term for United States.
Example sentences
  • I see it as a big problem here in the States.
  • But we assume that the children will make their lives in America, so I foresee us having a home in the east coast of the States, and dividing our time between here and there, so as to be near the children.
  • She knows people at an extremely high level in Europe, the States, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, China and Russia.
3The civil government of a country: services provided by the state [in combination]: state-owned companies [mass noun]: a minister engaged in matters of state [as modifier]: state education
More example sentences
  • Therefore reformists deduce that no direct challenge to the state is necessary and civil society can be reformed.
  • Thereafter, in bad health, he took little part in military or civil affairs of state.
  • Now, the attack on executives is at the forefront of the state's intrusion on civil liberties.
government, parliament, the administration, the regime, the authorities, the council, the Establishment
3.1 (the States) The legislative body in Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney.
4 [mass noun] Pomp and ceremony associated with monarchy or high levels of government: he was buried in state
More example sentences
  • He will lie here in state until early on Friday morning for the public to pay their last respects.
  • The process has to be repeated several times during the laying in state.
  • The Queen processed in state to the Houses of Parliament in a glittering coach, flanked by ranks of household cavalry.
4.1 [as modifier] Involving the ceremony associated with a head of state: the Queen paid a state visit to Malaysia
More example sentences
  • It is now clear that this may well be a blueprint for all future state occasions and festivities in this age of terrorism.
  • He added that a state ceremony would be ‘appropriate’ recognition of her stature.
  • And since that time they have been brought forth only occasionally for royal and state occasions.
ceremonial, official, formal, governmental, national, public
5A specified impression taken from an etched or engraved plate at a particular stage: an oblong plate, dry point, first state of eight
More example sentences
  • Mrs. Siddons was a first state with the coveted blotted edge.
5.1A particular printed version of the first edition of a book, distinguished from others by prepublication changes: there are four states of the first edition
More example sentences
  • Every image in this folio is printed in two states, one in full color and one in black ink on golden ochre-colored paper.
  • He frequently made numerous changes as he progressed, preserved in the succeeding states of the print.


1 [reporting verb] Express something definitely or clearly in speech or writing: [with clause]: the report stated that more than 51 per cent of voters failed to participate [with direct speech]: ‘Money hasn’t changed me,’ she stated firmly [with object]: people will be invited to state their views
More example sentences
  • As the newspaper's report clearly stated, the activity has been taking place since February this year.
  • The report clearly stated that the quality of the clergy had to be improved.
  • It states clearly that the aim of cannabis legislation should be to focus on preventing under-age use.
express, voice, utter, say, tell, declare, affirm, assert, aver, announce, make known, communicate, reveal, disclose, divulge, give out, give voice to, pronounce, articulate, enunciate, proclaim, present, expound, preach, promulgate, publish, broadcast;
set out, set down, frame, formulate, spell out, be specific about
informal come out with
rare asseverate
set, fixed, settled, agreed, declared, determined, approved, authorized, accredited, ruled, ordained, designated, laid down;
claimed, official, supposed, professed, alleged
1.1 [with object] chiefly Law Specify the facts of (a case) for consideration: judges must give both sides an equal opportunity to state their case
More example sentences
  • The fact is I have stated a case, and unless someone seeks to dissolve it, perhaps you should get on with it.
  • The applicant now applies with leave for judicial review of the Justices' refusal to state a case
  • Subsequently the Crown Court stated a Case - there is now an appeal by way of Case Stated against the ruling.
2 [with object] Music Present or introduce (a theme or melody) in a composition: a bold theme is stated at the beginning, driving the entire ten-minute allegro
More example sentences
  • It begins with the bass stating the melody and features a shifting arrangement that allows everyone a chance to solo.
  • By simply stating his melodies, Dobbyn has never sung so plainly or powerfully.
  • Elgar rarely states the motto in full, and yet its presence haunts the entire work.



state of affairs (or things)

A situation or set of circumstances: the survey revealed a sorry state of affairs in schools
More example sentences
  • I don't want to travel by public transport as I don't feel safe, and that is a sorry state of affairs.
  • Sunderland's solicitor Clive Flynn described the case as a sad and sorry state of affairs.
  • A sorry state of affairs to say the least and a disaster for the promotion of the game.

state of the art

Pronunciation: /ˌsteɪt əv ðɪ ˈɑːt/
The most recent stage in the development of a product, incorporating the newest ideas and features: [as modifier]: a new state-of-the-art hospital
More example sentences
  • He said the new kitchen is much more modern and state of the art, and will be much more efficient for workers and kitchen personnel.
  • This production method was state of the art back in 1966, and still is very difficult to master today.
  • Remarkable for the time, the production process in the new distillery was state of the art in terms of continuous distillation.
modern, ultra-modern, futuristic, avant-garde, the latest, new, the newest, up to the minute;
advanced, highly developed, innovatory, trailblazing, revolutionary;
sophisticated, complex, complicated, elaborate, intricate, subtle, delicate;

state of emergency

Pronunciation: /ˌsteɪt əv ɪˈməːdʒənsi/
A situation of national danger or disaster in which a government suspends normal constitutional procedures in order to regain control: the government has declared a state of emergency
More example sentences
  • Currently, the country is under a national state of emergency.
  • Mr Neptune declared a national state of emergency on Wednesday in part because of the continuing clashes.
  • It was only a matter of time before they called for a national state of emergency to be imposed and the troops to be sent in to the countryside.

state of grace

Theology A condition of being free from sin: people are essentially good and born in a state of grace
More example sentences
  • But in the next breath, we also know that the beauty within us shines a lot more brightly and gives God more pleasure when we are connected to Jesus and in a state of grace.
  • And when the archdeacon dies, he does so in a state of grace.
  • The idea of ‘consulting’ Catholics not in a state of grace would have struck Newman as grotesquely beyond the pale.

state of life

(In religious contexts) a person’s occupation, calling, or status: the faith of all men in whatever state of life
More example sentences
  • Those that bear the nature of the flesh are in a state of death, while those that bear the nature of the Spirit are in a state of life.
  • Others, particularly in the modern period, have envisioned their heavenly reward as a state of life after death in heaven with God.
  • As Catholics, we finally believe that our story is part of God's story, and therefore reject the notion that any human form or state of life is useless.

state of play

The score at a particular time in a cricket or football match.
Example sentences
  • Tucker slotted over the resultant penalty to narrow the score to 12-3, which remained the state of play at the interval.
  • He can look at the game and know the state of play when he's going on the field.
  • You can't really argue with the state of play at the moment, because while England haven't exactly been Brazil, they've been clinical when presented with their opportunities.
6.1The current situation in an ongoing process: I assume you know the state of play in the administrative assistants' dispute?
More example sentences
  • Putting aside the accurate truth that modern video games are all about community and online socialising, let's look at the current state of play.
  • So much for history, what about the current state of play?
  • And the various ideas that have been carefully leaked are certainly an improvement on the current state of play.

state of war

A situation when war has been declared or is in progress: General Noriega’s forces were in a state of war with the US
More example sentences
  • The US executive has, in effect, declared a permanent state of war.
  • And should the talkers determine not to be derailed, they'll find themselves still in a state of war at the end of their peace talks.
  • The way to protect innocent enemy soldiers, as David suggests, is by no longer being in a state of war - which may demand winning the war.



Example sentences
  • This is too glaring a non sequitur for it ever to be statable as such.
  • Horwich recognizes that if he used substitutional quantifiers, his theory would be finitely statable.
  • These scientists evidently did not realize how much of our knowledge of proper game behavior precedes the learning of the statable constraints of a particular sport.


Middle English (as a noun): partly a shortening of estate, partly from Latin status 'manner of standing, condition' (see status). The current verb senses date from the mid 17th century.

  • estate from Middle English:

    Estate and its shortening state (Middle English) are the same word, both going back to Latin status (late 18th century) ‘state, condition’. The sense of estate for ‘property’ comes from a late Middle English development via the idea of ‘state of prosperity’. See also press

Words that rhyme with state

abate, ablate, aerate, ait, await, backdate, bait, bate, berate, castrate, collate, conflate, crate, create, cremate, date, deflate, dictate, dilate, distraite, donate, downstate, eight, elate, equate, estate, fate, fête, fixate, freight, frustrate, gait, gate, gestate, gradate, grate, great, gyrate, hate, hydrate, inflate, innate, interrelate, interstate, irate, Kate, Kuwait, lactate, late, locate, lustrate, mandate, mate, migrate, misdate, misstate, mistranslate, mutate, narrate, negate, notate, orate, ornate, Pate, placate, plate, prate, prorate, prostrate, pulsate, pupate, quadrate, rate, rotate, sate, sedate, serrate, short weight, skate, slate, spate, spectate, spruit, stagnate, straight, strait, Tate, tête-à-tête, Thwaite, translate, translocate, transmigrate, truncate, underrate, understate, underweight, update, uprate, upstate, up-to-date, vacate, vibrate, wait, weight

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: state

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.