see also: State
Pronunciation Noun

state (plural states)

  1. A condition; a set of circumstances applying at any given time.
    a state of being; a state of emergency
    1. (physics) A complete description of a system, consisting of parameters that determine all property#Adjective|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 value#Noun|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.
      • circa 1593 William Shakespeare, Richard III, [Act I, Scene iii]:
        And leſned by that ſmall, God I beſeech him, / Thy honor, ſtate, and ſeate, is due to me.
    3. Condition of prosperity or grandeur; wealthy or prosperous circumstances; social importance.
    4. A chair with a canopy above it, often standing on a dais; a seat of dignity; also, the canopy itself.
      • 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, lines 443–447:
        {...}}and from the dore / Of that Plutonia Hall, inviſible / Aſcended his high Throne, which under ſtate / Of richeſt texture ſpred, at th’ upper end / Was plac’t in regal luſtre.
    5. (obsolete) A great person, a dignitary; a lord or prince.
      • 1644, John Milton, Aeropagitica, page 1:
        They who to States and Governours of the Commonwealth direct their Speech, High Court of Parlament, or wanting ſuch acceſſe in a private condition, write that which they foreſee may advance the publick good ; 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.
  3. A polity.
    1. Any sovereign polity; a national or city-state government.
      • ante 1949 Albert Einstein, as quoted by Virgil Henshaw in Albert Einstein: Philosopher Scientist (1949)
        Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
    2. A political division of a federation retaining a notable degree of autonomy, as in the United States or Germany.
    3. (obsolete) A form of government other than a monarchy.
    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.
  5. (grammar, semantics) The lexical aspect (aktionsart) of verbs or predicates that do not change over time.
    Antonyms: occurrence
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

state (states, present participle stating; past and past participle stated)

  1. (transitive) To declare to be a fact.
    He stated that he was willing to help.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter II, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0147 ↗:
      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.
Synonyms Translations Translations Adjective


  1. (obsolete) Stately.
    1579, Immeritô [pseudonym; Edmund Spenser], “September. Aegloga Nona.”, in The Shepheardes Calender: […], London: Printed by Hugh Singleton, […], OCLC 606515406 ↗; republished as The Shepheardes Calender, […], imprinted at London: By Iohn Wolfe for Iohn Harrison the yonger, […], 1586, OCLC 837880809 ↗, folio 36, recto ↗:
    The ſhepheardes ſwayne you cannot well ken, / But it be by his pride, from other men: / They looken bigge as Bulles, that bene bate, / And bearen the cragge ſo ſtiffe and ſo ſtate, / As Cocke on his dunghill, crowing cranck.
Related terms

state (plural states)

  1. A current governing polity.
  2. (often with definite article) The current governing polity under which the speaker lives.
Related terms Proper noun
  1. State University, as the shortened form of any public university name.

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