Definition for STATE

STATE, n. [L. status, from sto, to stand, to be fixed; It. stato; Sp. estado; Fr. etât. Hence G. stät, fixed; statt, place, abode, stead; staat, state; stadt, a town or city; D. staat, condition, state; stad, a city, Dan. and Sw. stad; Sans. stidaha, to stand; Pers. istaden, id. State is fixedness or standing.]

  1. Condition; the circumstances of a being or thing at any given time. These circumstances may be internal, constitutional or peculiar to the being, or they may have relation to other beings. We say, the body is in a sound state, or it is in a weak state; or it has just recovered from a feeble state. The state of his health is good. The state of his mind is favorable for study. So we say, the state of public affairs calls for the exercise of talents and wisdom. In regard to foreign nations, our affairs are in a good state. So we say, single state, and married state. Declare the past and present state of things. – Dryden.
  2. Modification of any thing. Keep the state of the question in your eye. – Doyle.
  3. Crisis; stationary point; highth; point from which the next movement is regression. Tumors have their several degrees and times, as beginning, augment, state and declination. [Not in use.] – Wiseman.
  4. Estate, possession. [Obs.] [See Estate.] – Daniel.
  5. A political body, or body politic; the whole body of the people united under one government, whatever may be the form of the government. Municipal law is a rule of conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state. – Blackstone. More usually the word signifies a political body governed by representatives; a commonwealth; as, the States of Greece; the States of America. In this sense, state has sometimes more immediate reference to the government, sometimes to the people or community. Thus when we say, the state has made provision for the paupers, the word has reference to the government; or legislature; but when we say, the state is taxed to support paupers, the word refers to the whole people or community.
  6. A body of men united by profession, or constituting a community of a particular character; as, the civil and ecclesiastical states in Great Britain. But these are sometimes distinguished by the terms church and state. In this case, state signifies the civil community or government only.
  7. Rank; condition; quality; as, the state of honor. – Shak.
  8. Pomp; appearance of greatness. In state the monarchs march'd. – Dryden. Where least of state, there most of love is shown. – Dryden.
  9. Dignity; grandeur. She instructed him how he should keep state, yet with a modest sense of his misfortunes. – Bacon.
  10. A seat of dignity. This chair shall be my state. – Shak.
  11. A canopy; a covering of dignity. His high throne, under state / Of richest texture spread. [Unusual.] – Milton.
  12. A person of high rank. [Not in use.] – Latimer.
  13. The principal persons in a government. The bold design / Pleas'd highly those infernal states. – Milton.
  14. The bodies that constitute the legislature of a country; as, the states general.
  15. Joined with another word, it denotes public, or what belongs to the community or body politic; as, state affairs; state policy.

Return to page 252 of the letter “S”.