fed·er·al (fĕdər-əl, fĕdrəl)
1. Of, relating to, or being a form of government in which a union of states recognizes the sovereignty of a central authority while retaining certain residual powers of government.
2. Of or constituting a form of government in which sovereign power is divided between a central authority and a number of constituent political units.
3. Of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinct from the governments of its member units.
4. Favorable to or advocating federation: The senator's federal leanings were well known.
5. Relating to or formed by a treaty or compact between constituent political units.
a. Of, relating to, or supporting Federalism or the Federalist Party.
b. Of, relating to, or loyal to the Union cause during the American Civil War.
7. often Federal Of, relating to, or being the central government of the United States.
8. Federal Relating to or characteristic of a style of architecture, furniture, and decoration produced in the United States especially in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and characterized by adaptations of classical forms combined with typically American motifs.
a. A supporter of the Union during the American Civil War, especially a Union soldier.
b. A Federalist.
2. often Federal A federal agent or official.
[From Latin foedus, foeder-, league, treaty; see bheidh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)Federal
1819 Custom House,
Salem Maritime National
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendicies
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.