a. A condition or mode of being, as with regard to circumstances: The office was in a state of confusion.
b. A condition of being in a stage or form, as of structure, growth, or development: the fetal state.
c. A mental or emotional condition: in a manic state.
d. Informal A condition of excitement or distress: was in a state over going to the prom.
e. Social position or rank.
2. Physics The condition of a physical system with regard to phase, form, composition, or structure: Ice is the solid state of water.
3. Ceremony; pomp: foreign leaders dining in state at the White House.
a. The supreme public power within a sovereign political entity: the state intervening in the economy.
b. The sphere of supreme civil power within a given polity: matters of state.
c. A specific kind of government: the socialist state.
d. A body politic, especially one constituting a nation: the states of Eastern Europe.
e. One of the more or less internally autonomous territorial and political units composing a federation under a sovereign government: the 48 contiguous states of the Union.
1. Of or relating to a body politic or to an internally autonomous territorial or political unit constituting a federation under one government: a monarch dealing with state matters; the department that handles state security.
2. Owned and operated by a state: state universities.
tr.v. stat·ed, stat·ing, states
To set forth in words; declare.
[Middle English, from Old French estat, from Latin status; see stā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
stata·ble, statea·ble adj.
Synonyms: state, condition, situation, status
These nouns denote the mode of being or form of existence of a person or thing: an old factory in a state of disrepair; a jogger in healthy condition; a police officer responding to a dangerous situation; the uncertain status of the peace negotiations.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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.