1. <ethnology> A part, or division, of the people of the earth, distinguished from the rest by common descent, language, or institutions; a race; a stock. "All nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." (Rev. Vii. 9)

2. The body of inhabitants of a country, united under an independent government of their own. "A nation is the unity of a people." (Coleridge) "Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation." (F. S. Key)

3. Family; lineage.

4. One of the divisions of university students in a classification according to nativity, formerly common in Europe. One of the four divisions (named from the parts of Scotland) in which students were classified according to their nativity.

5. A great number; a great deal; by way of emphasis; as, a nation of herbs. Five nations. See Five. Law of nations. See International law, under International, and Law.

Synonyms: people, race. See People.

Origin: F. Nation, L. Natio nation, race, orig, a being born, fr. Natus, p.p. Of nasci, to be born, for gnatus, gnaci, from the same root as E. Kin. 44. See Kin kindred, and cf. Cognate, Natal, Native.

(01 Mar 1998)

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