na·​vel | \ ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio) \

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

Fashion’s navel-gazing obsession with logos continues. Carla Guler, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 8 Fall Trends to Shop Now," 14 Aug. 2019 Now, Anthony and KKW seem to have come into their own, preferring to more subtly riff off of each other’s outfits, whether that's a navel-baring shirt or suede knee-high boots. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Pairs Up With an Equally Chic BFF," 16 May 2019 Too often, maybe as a result of our own navel-gazing, we position events in an athlete’s career—a win, a loss, a setback or, yes, an injury—as life-changing. Albert Breer,, "Andrew Luck on What His Long Injury Layoff Taught Him—About Football and Life," 1 Aug. 2019 Pull the navel in towards your spine and relax the shoulders down away from the ears. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "5 ways to avoid back pain during yoga class," 22 July 2019 Purchased at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the pencil drawing depicts a nude girl reclining on her back, the contours of her ribs protruding unsettlingly above her navel. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Drawing Found in Thrift Store Turns Out to Be an Original Egon Schiele," 26 July 2019 His high-collared shirt was unbuttoned nearly to his navel, with a scarf loosely knotted around his neck. Richard Zoglin, Time, "Inside the Las Vegas Show That Turned Elvis' Career Around," 23 July 2019 Soon enough the Walkman was a symbol of navel-gazing self-absorption. Clive Thompson, Smithsonian, "The Walkman’s Invention 40 Years Ago Launched a Cultural Revolution," 9 July 2019 Related Articles There is a hyper-meta quality to this documentary that will probably appeal to fans of navel-gazing conceptual art — or just devilishly pointed black humor. Michael O'sullivan, Twin Cities, "A conceptual artist pops a brilliant (but ghoulish) question in ‘The Proposal’," 20 June 2019

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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Statistics for navel

Last Updated

31 Aug 2019

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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 How to pronounce navel (audio) \

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 How to pronounce navel (audio) \

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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