na·​vel | \ˈnā-vəl \

Definition of navel 

1 : a depression in the middle of the abdomen that marks the point of former attachment of the umbilical cord or yolk stalk

2 : the central point : middle In Delphi's golden age, when the ancients held it to be the navel of the world— Henry Kamm

Keep scrolling for more

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

Think of a string lifting the top of your head to the sky as your navel presses in and up towards your spine. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "This Body-Sculpting Workout Is Top-Model-Approved—And Ready for the Holidays," 20 Nov. 2018 There's more value to this exercise than just navel-gazing: examining iOS 12 can help reveal whether the iPhone and iPad will be there for you not just now, but in a few years. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iOS 12, thoroughly reviewed," 17 Sep. 2018 The combination of maintained land and untamed wilderness is pivotal to all that deep reflection and navel-gazing college students are so good at. Condé Nast Traveler, "The 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America," 6 Aug. 2018 Google and its hyper-political employees stand out for seeming to spend a remarkable amount of time navel-gazing and composing codes of conduct. The Editorial Page, WSJ, "Don’t Be Naive, Google," 2 Aug. 2018 So keep cool and carry on by clicking through more navel-grazing beauty moments above. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian West and More Show Off Their Crop Top-Ready Abs," 29 July 2018 The ad campaign launched this week with a new video and stunning images by photographer Ashley Armitage showing women proudly displaying the hair in their underarms, on their legs, below their navels, and between their eyebrows. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Billie’s New Razor Campaign Shows Off Body Hair," 29 June 2018 The navel skimmer has been making a comeback for several seasons, including at Céline Fall 2018, Chanel Resort 2019, and even Cottweiler Spring 2019 men’s show. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "From Anklets to Toe Rings, This Is the Summer of Throwback Jewelry," 6 July 2018 After 40 years in sun and rain their brilliant gold glaze remains only in recesses, their eye sockets, their navels, the insides of their wings. Scott Harrison,, "From the Archives: Richfield Building sculptures in wrecking yard," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'navel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of navel

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

History and Etymology for navel

Middle English, from Old English nafela; akin to Old High German nabalo navel, Latin umbilicus, Greek omphalos

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about navel

Statistics for navel

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for navel

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for navel



English Language Learners Definition of navel

: the small, hollow or raised area in the middle of your stomach


na·​vel | \ˈnā-vəl \

Kids Definition of navel

: a hollow or bump in the middle of the stomach that marks the place where the umbilical cord was attached


na·​vel | \ˈnā-vəl \

Medical Definition of navel 

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on navel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for navel

Spanish Central: Translation of navel

Nglish: Translation of navel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of navel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about navel

Comments on navel

What made you want to look up navel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!