State (?), n. [OE. stat, OF.
estat, F. état, fr. L. status a standing,
position, fr. stare, statum, to stand. See Stand,
and cf. Estate, Status.] 1. The
circumstances or condition of a being or thing at any given
State is a term nearly synonymous with "mode,"
but of a meaning more extensive, and is not exclusively limited to the
mutable and contingent. Sir W. Hamilton.
Declare the past and present state of
Keep the state of the question in your
2. Rank; condition; quality; as, the
state of honor.
Thy honor, state, and seat is due to
3. Condition of prosperity or grandeur;
wealthy or prosperous circumstances; social importance.
She instructed him how he should keep state, and
yet with a modest sense of his misfortunes.
Can this imperious lord forget to reign,
Quit all his state, descend, and serve again?
4. Appearance of grandeur or dignity;
Where least og state there most of love is
5. A chair with a canopy above it, often
standing on a dais; a seat of dignity; also, the canopy itself.
His high throne, . . . under state Milton.
Of richest texture spread.
When he went to court, he used to kick away the
state, and sit down by his prince cheek by jowl.
6. Estate, possession. [Obs.]
Your state, my lord, again in
7. A person of high rank. [Obs.]
8. Any body of men united by profession, or
constituting a community of a particular character; as, the civil and
ecclesiastical states, or the lords spiritual and temporal and the
commons, in Great Britain. Cf. Estate, n.,
9. The principal persons in a
The bold design
Pleased highly those infernal states.
10. The bodies that constitute the legislature
of a country; as, the States-general of Holland.
11. A form of government which is not
monarchial, as a republic. [Obs.]
Well monarchies may own religion's name,
But states are atheists in their very fame.
12. A political body, or body politic; the
whole body of people who are united one government, whatever may be
the form of the government; a nation.
Municipal law is a rule of conduct prescribed by the
supreme power in a state. Blackstone.
The Puritans in the reign of Mary, driven from their
homes, sought an asylum in Geneva, where they found a state
without a king, and a church without a bishop. R.
13. In the United States, one of the
commonwealth, or bodies politic, the people of which make up the body
of the nation, and which, under the national constitution, stands in
certain specified relations with the national government, and are
invested, as commonwealth, with full power in their several spheres
over all matters not expressly inhibited.
☞ The term State, in its technical sense, is used in
distinction from the federal system, i. e., the government of
the United States.
14. 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.
☞ When state is joined with another word, or used
adjectively, it denotes public, or what belongs to the community or
body politic, or to the government; also, what belongs to the States
severally in the American Union; as, state affairs;
state policy; State laws of Iowa.
Nascent state. (Chem.) See under
Nascent. -- Secretary of state. See
Secretary, n., 3. -- State
bargea royal barge, or a barge belonging to a
government. -- State bed, an elaborately
carved or decorated bed. -- State carriage,
a highly decorated carriage for officials going in state, or
taking part in public processions. -- State
paper, an official paper relating to the interests or
government of a state. Jay. -- State
prison, a public prison or penitentiary; -- called also
State's prison. -- State prisoner,
one is confinement, or under arrest, for a political offense.
-- State rights, or States'
rights, the rights of the several independent States, as
distinguished from the rights of the Federal government. It has been a
question as to what rights have been vested in the general
government. [U.S.] -- State's evidence. See
Probator, 2, and under Evidence. -- State
sword, a sword used on state occasions, being borne
before a sovereign by an attendant of high rank. -- State
trial, a trial of a person for a political offense.
-- States of the Church. See under
Syn. -- State, Situation, Condition.
State is the generic term, and denotes in general the mode in
which a thing stands or exists. The situation of a thing is its
state in reference to external objects and influences; its
condition is its internal state, or what it is in itself
considered. Our situation is good or bad as outward things bear
favorably or unfavorably upon us; our condition is good or bad
according to the state we are actually in as respects our persons,
families, property, and other things which comprise our sources of
I do not, brother,
Infer as if I thought my sister's state
Secure without all doubt or controversy.
We hoped to enjoy with ease what, in our
situation, might be called the luxuries of life.
And, O, what man's condition can be worse
Than his whom plenty starves and blessings curse?