national debt the total amount of money which a country's government has borrowed, by various means. A government may raise money by means such as the selling of interest-bearing bonds to the public or borrowing from foreign creditors, often in order to support the national currency, pay for social programmes, or avoid the need to raise taxes.
National Gallery an art gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, holding one of the chief national collections of pictures. The collection began in 1824, when Parliament voted money for the purchase of thirty-eight pictures from the J. J. Angerstein collection, and the present main building was opened in 1838 and has been extended several times, most recently by the addition of the Sainsbury wing (opened 1991).
national government a coalition government, especially one subordinating party differences to the national interest in a time of crisis, as in Britain under Ramsay MacDonald in 1931–5.
National Trust a trust for the preservation of places of historic interest or natural beauty in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, founded in 1895 and supported by endowment and private subscription. The National Trust for Scotland was founded in 1931.
na·tion·al / ˈnashənəl/ • adj. of or relating to a nation; common to or characteristic of a whole nation: this policy may have been in the national interest | a national newspaper. ∎ owned, controlled, or financially supported by the federal government: plans for a national art library.• n. 1. a citizen of a particular country, typically entitled to hold that country's passport: a German national | the new law on foreign nationals.2. (usu. nationals) a nationwide competition or tournament: she finished 16th at the nationals that year.DERIVATIVES: na·tion·al·ly adv. nationally, there has been a 2.5% drop in car crime.