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nation (n.)

14世纪, nacioun, “人种, 具有共同祖先和语言的一大群人”, 来自古法语 nacion “出生, 等级; 后裔, 亲属; 国家, 故乡” (12世纪), 直接来自拉丁语 nationem (名词 natio) “出生, 起源. 品种, 种群, 种类, 物种; 人种, 部落”, 字面意思是“已经出生的东西”, 来自 natus, 过去分词 nasci “出生” (古拉丁文 gnasci), 来自PIE词根 *gene- “生育, 生养”, 衍生词指生殖和家庭, 部落群体.

该词在英语中的使用, 有广义的, “一个民族的种族 一个同族家族的人的集合体, 说同一种语言”, 也有狭义的, “一个由政府和臣民或公民组成的政治社会, 构成一个政治单位; 一个有组织的共同体, 居住在一个确定的地域内, 在这个地域内行使其主权”.

在中古英语中, 两者不易区分, 但“政治社会” 的意义在16世纪, 也许是14世纪末就出现了, 而且它逐渐占据了主导地位. 较早的意义保留在对北美原住民的应用 nation (1640年代). Nation-building “创建一个新的国家” 在1907年得到证明(隐含在 nation-builder). Nation-state “主权国家, 其居民因语言, 文化和共同血统而团结在一起” 是1918年的.

A nation is an organized community within a certain territory; or in other words, there must be a place where its sole sovereignty is exercised. [Theodore D. Woolsey, “Introduction to the Study of International Law,” 1864] 

Origin and meaning of nation

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Definitions of nation
1
nation (n.)
a politically organized body of people under a single government;
African nations
students who had come to the nation's capitol
Synonyms: state / country / land / commonwealth / res publica / body politic
nation (n.)
the people who live in a nation or country;
the news was announced to the nation
a statement that sums up the nation's mood
Synonyms: land / country
nation (n.)
a federation of tribes (especially Native American tribes);
the Shawnee nation
2
Nation (n.)
United States prohibitionist who raided saloons and destroyed bottles of liquor with a hatchet (1846-1911);
Synonyms: Carry Nation / Carry Amelia Moore Nation
From wordnet.princeton.edu