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united states (n.)

attested from 1617, originally with reference to Holland; the North American confederation first so called in 1776. United Provinces were the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands, allied from 1579, later developing into the kingdom of Holland.

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Definitions of united states from WordNet

United States (n.)
North American republic containing 50 states - 48 conterminous states in North America plus Alaska in northwest North America and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean; achieved independence in 1776;
Synonyms: United States of America / America / the States / us / U.S. / usa / U.S.A.
United States (n.)
the executive and legislative and judicial branches of the federal government of the United States;
Synonyms: United States government / U.S. government / US Government / U.S.
From wordnet.princeton.edu