Date: 1100-1200
Language: Old French
Origin: estat, from Latin status, from the past participle of stare 'to stand'


1 noun
state1 S2 W2


[countable] the physical or mental condition that someone or something is in
state of
There are fears for the state of the country's economy.
in a bad/terrible etc state
When we bought the house, it was in a terrible state.
somebody's mental/physical/emotional state
Frankly, I wouldn't trust his emotional state right now.
She was in an extremely confused state of mind.
in no fit state to do something (=should not do something because you are not in a suitable condition)
David's in no fit state to drive.
She can't go home now. Look at the state of her!
be in a good/bad state of repair (=be in good condition and not need repairing, or be in bad condition)
The boat was in a good state of repair.
The country was in a state of war (=officially fighting a war).
Water exists in three states: liquid, gaseous, and solid.
state of emergency


[singular, uncountable] also the State especially British EnglishPG the government or political organization of a country:
The state has allocated special funds for the emergency.
state employees/property/regulations etc especially British English
limits on salary increases for state workers
state-owned/state-funded/state-subsidized etc (=owned, paid for etc by the government)
a state-funded community housing project
matters/affairs of state (=the business of the government)
democratic/one-party/totalitarian etc state (=with that type of government)
police state, welfare state


[countable]PG a country considered as a political organization:
a NATO member state (=a country belonging to NATO)

part of a country

[countable] also State British EnglishPG one of the areas with limited law-making powers that together make up a country controlled by a central government such as the US and Australia [↪ province, county, region]:
Queensland is one of the states of Australia.
the state of Iowa
state employees/property/regulations etc
the state government
state and federal taxes

the States

spokenPG a word meaning the US, used especially by someone when they are outside the US:
Which part of the States would you suggest I visit?

be in a state/get into a state

British English spoken to be or become very nervous, anxious, or excited:
Mum and Dad were in a right state when I got in.

official ceremony

[uncountable]PG the official ceremonies and events connected with government or rulers:
the Queen's first state visit here in seventeen years
music for state occasions (=special public events)

state of affairs

formal a situation
unsatisfactory/sad/sorry state etc of affairs
I must say this is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs.

the state of play

especially British English
a) the position reached in an activity or process that has not finished yet:
What is the state of play in the current negotiations?
b) DS the score in a sports game

lie in state

if the body of an important person who has just died lies in state, it is put in a public place so that people can go and show their respect

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