na·​vel ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio)
: a depression in the middle of the abdomen that marks the point of former attachment of the umbilical cord or yolk stalk
: the central point : middle
In Delphi's golden age, when the ancients held it to be the navel of the worldHenry Kamm

Examples of navel in a Sentence

a city that likes to regard itself as the nation's navel of art and culture
Recent Examples on the Web The jaguar’s magic was believed to travel via the navel from the god to the shaman or king to the general welfare. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 1 Feb. 2024 The jungle-print Versace gown featured a plunging neckline that dropped past her navel. Kaitlyn Frey, Peoplemag, 22 Jan. 2024 Though Kendall Jenner's dress did not feature sheer fabric or vibrant foliage, her brown halter dress dipped well past her navel, much like the look Lopez wore nearly 24 years ago. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 21 Jan. 2024 The Ellie Saab haute couture look, which Lopez wore to Paris Couture Week, begins with a Greek-goddess-like dress that's open almost to the navel, secured with a decorative belt. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 24 Jan. 2024 For accessories, the star wore a tiered necklace which nearly grazed her navel and blue gemstone drop earrings. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 30 Nov. 2023 Once its steel fittings were in place, the stand reached just above my navel, with a felted catch-all tray at the top, the hanger directly below, a felted trouser bar under that, and an elevated shoe rack formed by the four wooden beams at its base. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 17 Oct. 2023 But health influencers aren’t promoting navel oiling as a stress reducer. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2023 The surrealist moments — flashes of Gia meditating among towering redwoods, a branch growing from her navel — add to this air of mystery. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'navel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, going back to Old English nafola, nafela, going back to Germanic *naƀ-alan- (whence also Old Frisian naula "navel," Middle Dutch navel, navele, Old High German nabalo, Old Icelandic nafli), masculine n-stem derivative from *naƀō "hub of a wheel, nave entry 1"; pre-Germanic *h3nobh-Vlo- with o-grade ablaut and an -l- formative is paralleled by zero-grade and an -l- formative in Latin umbilīcus "navel, central point" (see umbilicus), Old Irish imliu, imbliu "navel, boss of a shield, central point" (< *amb-el-on- < *h3n̥bh-el-on-), Greek omphalós "navel, central point" (see omphalos)

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of navel was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near navel

Cite this Entry

“Navel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


na·​vel ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio)
: a hollowed out place on the outside wall of the middle of the abdomen marking the point of attachment of the umbilical cord

Medical Definition


na·​vel ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio)
: a depression in the middle of the abdomen that marks the point of former attachment of the umbilical cord to the embryo

called also umbilicus

More from Merriam-Webster on navel

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