united nations

united nations


  1. (used with a singular verb) an international organization, with headquarters in New York City, formed to promote international peace, security, and cooperation under the terms of the charter signed by 51 founding countries in San Francisco in 1945. Abbreviation: UNCompare General Assembly, Security Council.
  2. (used with a plural verb) the nations that signed the joint declaration in Washington, D.C., January 2, 1942, pledging to employ full resources against the Axis powers, not to make a separate peace, etc.

noun (functioning as singular or plural)

  1. an international organization of independent states, with its headquarters in New York City, that was formed in 1945 to promote peace and international cooperation and securityAbbreviation: UN
  2. (in World War II) a coalition of 26 nations that signed a joint declaration in Jan 1942, pledging their full resources to defeating the Axis powers

1942, “the Allied nations at war with the Axis powers;” the international body (officially the United Nations Organization) was chartered in 1945. Such negotiation as may occur in New York is not conducted within the walls of the tall building by the East River: it is carried out elsewhere, in accordance with those principles of courtesy, confidence and discretion which must for ever remain the only principles conducive to the peaceful settlement of disputes. [Harold Nicholson, “The Evolution of Diplomatic Method,” 1954] An organization that includes virtually all countries in the world, with nearly 190 member nations. Its General Assembly, in which each member nation has one vote, guides policies and finances generally. Another important division of the United Nations is the Security Council, in which five powerful nations have a majority; the Security Council is charged with solving crises and keeping peace. The United Nations also includes an Economic and Social Council; a Secretariat, or administrative division; and the International Court of Justice, or World Court. It also is allied with several agencies that operate independently, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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