1. (Science: 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.
Synonym: 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.