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

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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 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 The smallest Hula-Hoop should have a diameter up to the hula-hooper's navel, and the largest should have a diameter to the middle of their chest. Science Buddies, Scientific American, "Swiveling Science: Applying Physics to Hula-Hooping," 11 July 2013 These aren’t your average short bouts of wit or flowery navel gazing that clutter social media. Jill Sanford, Outside Online, "9 Travel Accounts You Should Follow on Instagram," 1 July 2018 This is a crucial point, which elevates the implications of Usher’s study beyond the navel-gazing insularity of Twitter. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Male Echo Chamber of Political Twitter," 26 June 2018 That same year, Britney Spears, the queen of the low-rise hip-hangers, performed in a frayed incarnation complete with an above-the-navel white crop top at the 29th American Music Awards. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Are Trashy-Chic, Extreme Ripped Jeans Officially Back?," 21 June 2018 Italy’s new government is likely to push to end sanctions against Russia, while forcing Europe into a new bout of navel gazing over the euro. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "Putin’s Success Masks Russian Weakness," 4 June 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for navel

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

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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

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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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