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Merriam-Webster dictionary shows slightly different definitions of both the terms. However, Urban-dictionary shows the definition of Anti-nationalist similar to anti-national in Merriam-Webster dictionary. Also, different sites show different meanings.

Can anyone explain the difference between both the terms to a non-native English speaker?

Edit 1: Oxford dictionary has only the meaning of Anti-national. So, is it possible that Anti-national is preferred term in British English?

Edit 2: Check this link to see how Anti-national is used in Indian English media: https://m.economictimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/view-will-the-real-anti-national-damaging-bharat-please-stand-up/amp_articleshow/61515366.cms

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    It would be helpful if you would edit your question and provide links to your sources. – AmE speaker Aug 1 '17 at 14:39
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    I'd think of an anti-national as one thinking or acting against the state, while an anti-nationalist would be one who believes in and/or professes anti-national sentiment. – Kris Aug 1 '17 at 14:40
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    Urban dictionary isn't really the most reputable of sources. – Flater Aug 1 '17 at 15:10
  • @kris To me an anti-nationalist doesn't usually have sentiments or beliefs which are in opposition to a given state but is opposed to nationalism which is the extreme, often near or neo fascist, version of patriotism. – BoldBen Mar 10 '18 at 22:08
  • @BoldBen That's another way of looking at it. Like "100% natural latex." Is it "100% latex which is natural" or "latex that's 100% natural"? Take your choice. – Kris Mar 12 '18 at 7:49
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That's much more easily seen in the positive forms, national and nationalist.

For instance, national sentiment is the sentiment shared by the majority of the nation and nationalist sentiment is sentiment aspiring to nationhood, however few people share it.

One contemporary example is Brexit, by which the national sentiment supports nationalist moves, even if only by a slight majority.

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    I don't think that's what the Q is about, though. – Kris Aug 3 '17 at 12:03
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    @RobbieGoodwin In Indian English media, "Anti-national" is often used for people who are pro-separatists or/and oppose the integrity of India. This Indian media's definition is a little different from what I concluded from your answer. I guess, we can say that the definitions of both of these words are not yet fixed, and are region-dependent. Maybe because of the unpopularity of Anti-national/Anti-nationalist sentiments, the meanings of these words haven't attained saturation. – JustStartedCoding Aug 3 '17 at 20:33
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    Well, for few people (like communists, separatists, and internationalists) its difference is really important because these labels are a part of their identity, which defines their ideology. ... And, your answer makes me interpret that being called an Anti-national is more generous than being called an Anti-nationalist. However, @Kris comment on my question makes me interpret the opposite. Are you both from different countries or cultures? – JustStartedCoding Aug 4 '17 at 0:27
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    Nah, anti-national isn't capitalized. Use of 'anti-national' for both internationalists & separatists is wrong, but that's how it is used here, maybe because both ideologies oppose the existence of India as a sovereign state... And, I didn't understood your last line. – JustStartedCoding Aug 7 '17 at 12:31
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    I think the word "nationalist" varies too much between countries/cultures to make this easy to answer. To some, it seems, nationalist means "Someone who wants a unified nation" and to others it means "Someone who wants their country to be independent", two meanings which are almost opposite to one another. Furthermore, in many countries, "nationalism" has become entangled with xenophobia and/or racism, further complicating the issue. – Max Williams Nov 6 '17 at 13:59

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