I’m trying to sort out the full meaning of the word nation, specifically the degree to which it means a place versus a group of people.
The question and answers here are specific but divided. User waiwai933 reports that nation is the people (“identical to State [a group of people where at least one person has power and authority]; alternatively, a group of people identified by one culture (less common).”). User kiamlaluno quotes the NOAD that a nation is “people … inhabiting a particular country or territory.” Finally, user T.E.D. quotes Wikipedia saying that “The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity.”
So already there is disagreement. Various dictionaries I’ve consulted seem divided on the matter. If I write that a small child “fills his tiny nation” will it be read as “he fills his territory” or “he fills his ethno/cultural group”? Or could it be read either way?