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See also: State and státe




Adopted c. 1200 from both Old French estat and Latin status (manner of standing, attitude, position, carriage, manner, dress, apparel; and other senses), from stare (to stand). Doublet of estate and status. The sense of "polity" develops in the 14th century.



state (plural states)

  1. A condition; a set of circumstances applying at any given time.
    a state of being;   a state of emergency
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      Declare the past and present state of things.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed.
    1. (physics) A complete description of a system, consisting of parameters that determine all properties of the system.
      • 1977, J. B. Sykes and John Stewart Bell, translating Lev Landau and Evgeny Lifshitz, Course of Theoretical Physics Vol. 3: Quantum Mechanics: Non-relativistic Theory, p.28:
        States in which the energy has definite values are called stationary states of a system; they are described by wave functions Ψn which are the eigenfunctions of the Hamiltonian operator, i.e. which satisfy the equation ĤΨn = EnΨn, where En are the eigenvalues of the energy.
    2. (computing) The stable condition of a processor during a particular clock cycle.
      In the fetch state, the address of the next instruction is placed on the address bus.
    3. (computing) The set of all parameters relevant to a computation.
      The state here includes a set containing all names seen so far.
    4. (computing) The values of all parameters at some point in a computation.
      A debugger can show the state of a program at any breakpoint.
    5. (sciences) The physical property of matter as solid, liquid, gas or plasma.
    6. (obsolete) Highest and stationary condition, as that of maturity between growth and decline, or as that of crisis between the increase and the abating of a disease; height; acme.
  2. High social standing or circumstance.
    1. Pomp, ceremony, or dignity.
      The President's body will lie in state at the Capitol.
    2. Rank; condition; quality.
    3. Condition of prosperity or grandeur; wealthy or prosperous circumstances; social importance.
      • Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
        She instructed him how he should keep state, and yet with a modest sense of his misfortunes.
      • Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
        Can this imperious lord forget to reign, / Quit all his state, descend, and serve again?
    4. A chair with a canopy above it, often standing on a dais; a seat of dignity; also, the canopy itself.
      • John Milton (1608-1674)
        His high throne, [] under state / Of richest texture spread.
      • Jonathan Swift (1667–1745)
        When he went to court, he used to kick away the state, and sit down by his prince cheek by jowl.
    5. (obsolete) A great person, a dignitary; a lord or prince.
      • 1644, John Milton, Aeropagitica:
        They who to States and Governours of the Commonwealth direct their Speech [] ; I suppose them as at the beginning of no meane endeavour, not a little alter'd and mov'd inwardly in their mindes [] .
    6. (obsolete) Estate, possession.
      (Can we find and add a quotation of Daniel to this entry?)
  3. A polity.
    1. Any sovereign polity; a national or city-state government.
      • 20C, Albert Einstein, as quoted by Virgil Henshaw in Albert Einstein: Philosopher Scientist (1949)
        Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
      • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36:
        It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: […];  […]; or perhaps to muse on the irrelevance of the borders that separate nation states and keep people from understanding their shared environment.
    2. A political division of a federation retaining a notable degree of autonomy, as in the United States or Germany; (by extension, informal, US) any province.
    3. (obsolete) A form of government other than a monarchy.
      • John Dryden (1631-1700)
        Well monarchies may own religion's name, / But states are atheists in their very fame.
    4. (anthropology) A society larger than a tribe. A society large enough to form a state in the sense of a government.
  4. (mathematics, stochastic processes) An element of the range of the random variables that define a random process.


Derived termsEdit

Look at pages starting with state.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


state (third-person singular simple present states, present participle stating, simple past and past participle stated)

  1. (transitive) To declare to be a fact.
    He stated that he was willing to help.
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterII:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, of errand not wholly obvious to their fellows, yet of such sort as to call into query alike the nature of their errand and their own relations. It is easily earned repetition to state that Josephine St. Auban's was a presence not to be concealed.
  2. (transitive) To make known.
    State your intentions.

Usage notesEdit

State is stronger or more definitive than say. It is used to communicate an absence of reasonable doubt and to emphasize the factual or truthful nature of the communication.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


state (comparative more state, superlative most state)

  1. (obsolete) stately
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)

Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit





  1. plural of staat