Definition of state noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//steɪt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//steɪt//
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    condition of somebody/something
  1. 1  [countable] the mental, emotional or physical condition that a person or thing is in a confused state of mind He was in a state of permanent depression. A report condemned the state of prisoners' cells. anxieties about the state of the country’s economy The building is in a bad state of repair (= needs to be repaired). She was in a state of shock. (British English, informal) Look at the state of you! You can't go out looking like that. You're not in a fit state to drive. Which Word?condition / stateThe following adjectives are frequently used with these nouns: good/​excellent/​physical/​poor/​human/​perfect/​no/​better condition present/​current/​mental/​solid/​no/​emotional/​physical/​natural state State is a more general word than condition and is used for the condition that something is in at a particular time. It can be used without an adjective:the present state of medical knowledge We’re worried about his mental state. What a state this room is in (= very bad). Condition is used with an adjective and refers especially to the appearance, quality or working order of somebody or something:The car is in excellent condition.
  2. country
  3. 2  (also State) [countable] a country considered as an organized political community controlled by one government the Baltic States European Union member states see also chief of state, city state, head of state, nation state, police state, welfare state
  4. part of country
  5. 3  (also State) [countable] (abbreviation St.) an organized political community forming part of a country the states of Victoria and Western Australia the southern states of the US
  6. government
  7. 4  (also the State) [uncountable, singular] the government of a country matters/affairs of state people who are financially dependent on the state a state-owned company They wish to limit the power of the State.
  8. official ceremony
  9. 5[uncountable] the formal ceremonies connected with high levels of government or with kings and queens The president was driven in state through the streets.
  10. the US
  11. 6the States [plural] (informal) the United States of America I've never been to the States.
  12. Word OriginMiddle English (as a noun): partly a shortening of estate, partly from Latin status ‘manner of standing, condition’, from stare ‘to stand’. The current verb senses date from the mid 17th cent. Which Word?country / state Country is the most usual, neutral word for a geographical area that has or used to have its own government. State emphasizes the political organization of an area under an independent government. Especially in British English, it can also mean the government:the member states of the EU The state provides free education. In North American English the state usually refers to one of the 50 states of the US, not to the government of the country as a whole.Extra examples A handful of states have introduced similar legislation. Babies can cry themselves into a state of frenzy. Both candidates have been campaigning in key battleground states. Charities are required to register with a state agency. Did you go to a state school or a private school? Every citizen could buy shares in privatized state property. George W. Bush won the state of Florida. Given the current state of knowledge, it will take years to find a solution. He goes into a trance-like state when he plays the guitar. He roamed throughout the state. He was shot for passing state secrets to foreign powers. He’s concerned about his mother’s state of health. He’s not in a fit enough mental state to drive. His life seems to be in a constant state of chaos. I was a correctional officer out of Utah state prison. In 1949 China became a communist state. It can be a felony to transport wine across state lines. Jane was in a terrible state after losing her job. Most states require all drivers to carry a minimum level of insurance. New Jersey is a blue state. Public speaking can produce a state of mind akin to panic. She continues to live in a state of denial. She managed to get the company’s finances into a healthy state. She slipped into a state of unconsciousness. She uses music to create a particular emotional state. She was selected to represent the state of Texas at the conference. Some prefer tax cuts to greater state spending on health and social services. Teachers in the state sector are asking for a 7% pay rise. The brothers’ refusal to work together had brought about this sad state of affairs. The country is in a perpetual state of anarchy. The driver was just sitting there in a state of shock. The education system is still in a state of flux following the recent reform. The government has declared a state of emergency in the flooded regions. The house was in a poor state of repair when we bought it. The inspectors assess the physical state of schools and equipment. The legislation must work at both the federal and state levels. The president’s wife is said to have a powerful hand in affairs of state. The soul continues to be reborn until it has reached a state of perfection. The state pension is barely enough to live on. The telephone network is still under state control. They created a modern nation state. Thirty states have passed similar legislation. This latest policy is an example of the nanny state gone mad. Visiting heads of state usually stay at the palace. We were shocked at the run-down state of the hospital. You can either varnish the wood or leave it in its natural state. a drug that produces altered states of consciousness a farm tucked into the far north-west corner of the state an advanced state of dehydration large-scale state intervention in industry member states of the European Union opposition to the Civil War in Kansas and the other border states red states for Republicans rogue states that shelter terrorists schools outside the state system the legitimate exercise of state power the separation of church and state unemployed people living on state benefit After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many new nation states were created. Delegates from a number of Arab states attended the meeting. His teeth were in an appalling state. How did the carpet get into that state? It has not yet been recognized as an independent sovereign state. Look at the state of this room! Many Third World countries are one-party states of one type or another. The Murray River is the boundary between the states of Victoria and New South Wales. The action was opposed by several UN member states. The business is in a pretty good financial state. The hurricane swept across the southern states of the US. There are serious concerns about the current state of the economy. We would prefer to keep the garden in its natural state. What kind of state are the roads in? a newly independent country/​nation/​state relations between the two countries/​nations/​statesIdioms
      be in/get into a state (informal, especially British English)
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    1. 1to be/become excited or anxious She was in a real state about her exams. He made a mistake and got into a terrible state about it. See related entries: Excitement
    2. 2to be dirty or untidy What a state this place is in! See related entries: Excitement
    (in the Roman Catholic Church) having been forgiven by God for the wrong or evil things you have done He died in a state of grace. a situation This state of affairs can no longer be ignored. Synonymssituationcircumstances position conditions things the case state of affairsThese are all words for the conditions and facts that are connected with and affect the way things are.situation all the things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place:the present economic situationcircumstances the facts that are connected with and affect a situation, an event or an action; the conditions of a person’s life, especially the money they have:The ship sank in mysterious circumstances.position the situation that somebody is in, especially when it affects what they can and cannot do:She felt she was in a position of power.conditions the circumstances in which people live, work or do things; the physical situation that affects how something happens:We were forced to work outside in freezing conditions.circumstances or conditions?Circumstances refers to somebody’s financial situation; conditions are things such as the quality and amount of food or shelter they have. The circumstances that affect an event are the facts surrounding it; the conditions that affect it are usually physical ones, such as the weather.things (rather informal) the general situation, as it affects somebody:Hi, Jane! How are things? Think things over before you decide.the case the true situation:If that is the case (= if the situation described is true), we need more staff.state of affairs a situation:How did this unhappy state of affairs come about?situation or state of affairs? State of affairs is mostly used with this. It is also used with adjectives describing how good or bad a situation is, such as happy, sorry, shocking, sad and unhappy, as well as those relating to time, such as present and current. Situation is much more frequent and is used in a wider variety of contexts.Patterns in (a) particular situation/​circumstances/​position/​state of affairs the/​somebody’s economic/​financial/​social situation/​circumstances/​position/​conditions (a/​an) happy/​unhappy situation/​circumstances/​position/​state of affairs to look at/​review the situation/​circumstances/​conditions/​things
    1. 1the stage that has been reached in a process, etc. which has not yet been completed What is the current state of play in the peace talks?
    2. 2(especially British English) the score in a sports match, especially in cricket
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: state