the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes:
a state of health.
the condition of matter with respect to structure, form, constitution, phase, or the like:
water in a gaseous state.
status, rank, or position in life; station:
He dresses in a manner befitting his state.
the style of living befitting a person of wealth and high rank:
to travel in state.
a particular condition of mind or feeling:
to be in an excited state.
an abnormally tense, nervous, or perturbed condition:
He’s been in a state since hearing about his brother’s death.
a politically unified people occupying a definite territory; nation.
the territory, or one of the territories, of a government.
(sometimes initial capital letter) any of the bodies politic which together make up a federal union, as in the United States of America.
the body politic as organized for civil rule and government (distinguished from ).
the operations or activities of a central civil government:
affairs of state.
(initial capital letter). Also called State Department. Informal. the Department of State.
Printing. a set of copies of an edition of a publication which differ from others of the same printing because of additions, corrections, or transpositions made during printing or at any time before publication.
the States, Informal. the United States (usually used outside its borders):
After a year’s study in Spain, he returned to the States.
of or relating to the central civil government or authority.
made, maintained, or chartered by or under the authority of one of the commonwealths that make up a federal union:
a state highway; a state bank.
characterized by, attended with, or involving ceremony:
a state dinner.
used on or reserved for occasions of ceremony.
to declare definitely or specifically:
She stated her position on the case.
to set forth formally in speech or writing:
to state a hypothesis.
to set forth in proper or definite form:
to state a problem.
to say.
to fix or settle, as by authority.
lie in state, (of a corpse) to be exhibited publicly with honors before burial:
The president’s body lay in state for two days.
Historical Examples

The ground is thus prepared for anti-militaristic, anti-state and anti-patriotic ideas.
Syndicalism in France Louis Levine

the condition of a person, thing, etc, with regard to main attributes
the structure, form, or constitution of something: a solid state
any mode of existence
position in life or society; estate
ceremonious style, as befitting wealth or dignity: to live in state
a sovereign political power or community
the territory occupied by such a community
the sphere of power in such a community: affairs of state
(often capital) one of a number of areas or communities having their own governments and forming a federation under a sovereign government, as in the US
(often capital) the body politic of a particular sovereign power, esp as contrasted with a rival authority such as the Church
(obsolete) a class or order; estate
(informal) a nervous, upset, or excited condition (esp in the phrase in a state)
lie in state, (of a body) to be placed on public view before burial
state of affairs, a situation; present circumstances or condition
state of play, the current situation
controlled or financed by a state: state university
of, relating to, or concerning the State: State trial
involving ceremony or concerned with a ceremonious occasion: state visit
verb (transitive; may take a clause as object)
to articulate in words; utter
to declare formally or publicly: to state one’s innocence
to resolve

early 13c., “circumstances, temporary attributes of a person or thing, conditions,” from Latin status “manner of standing, position, condition,” noun of action from past participle stem of stare “to stand” from PIE root *sta- “to stand” (see stet). Some Middle English senses are via Old French estat (French état; see estate).

The Latin word was adopted into other modern Germanic languages (e.g. German, Dutch staat) but chiefly in the political senses only. Meaning “physical condition as regards form or structure” is attested from late 13c. Meaning “mental or emotional condition” is attested from 1530s (phrase state of mind first attested 1749); colloquial sense of “agitated or perturbed state” is from 1837.

He [the President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. [U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section iii]

“political organization of a country, supreme civil power, government,” 1530s, from state (n.1); this sense grew out of the meaning “condition of a country” with regard to government, prosperity, etc. (late 13c.), from Latin phrases such as status rei publicæ “condition of the republic.” Often in phrase church and state, which is attested from 1580s.

The sense of “semi-independent political entity under a federal authority” (as in the United States of America) is from 1856; the British North American colonies occasionally were called states as far back as 1630s. The states has been short for “the United States of America” since 1777; hence stateside (1944), World War II U.S. military slang. State rights in U.S. political sense is attested from 1798; form states rights is first recorded 1858.

1590s, “to set in a position,” from state (n.1); the sense of “declare in words” is first attested 1640s, from the notion of “placing” something on the record. Related: Stated; stating.

state (stāt)
A condition or situation; status.

Related Terms

in a state
In addition to the idiom beginning with
also see:

in a lather (state)
in state
ship of state


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