adjective or adverb
north·​er·​ly | \ ˈnȯr-t͟hər-lē How to pronounce northerly (audio) \

Definition of northerly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : situated toward or belonging to the north the northerly border
2 : coming from the north a northerly wind


plural northerlies

Definition of northerly (Entry 2 of 2)

: a wind from the north

Examples of northerly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective or adverb These low-pressure areas rotate in a counterclockwise manner, having a southerly flow of air on the right side transitioning to a northerly flow of air on the left. Dave Epstein,, "Why such a wide range of snow in Monday’s storm?," 2 Feb. 2021 Sunday night: Cold air starts filtering in on light northerly breezes. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Fairly bright and a bit breezy as our warming trend continues," 11 Dec. 2020 Caused by a geomagnetic storm that is the result of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), or solar flare, the Northern Lights could be visible across a number of northerly states. James Rogers, Fox News, "Northern Lights set to thrill US skywatchers," 10 Dec. 2020 On Sanibel, head to the more northerly beaches or to Captiva for the perfect view. Cassie Armstrong,, "Relax, you’re on (Sanibel) island time," 12 Nov. 2020 Cold northerly winds are expected to move into the region overnight Tuesday, and National Weather Service meteorologist Kaitlyn O’Brien said the chilly temperatures will remain through the week, possibly causing roads or sidewalks to remain slick. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Chilly days could keep Anchorage roads icy through the week," 27 Oct. 2020 The forecast for Sunday includes northerly gusts of up to 70 mph and humidity as low as 5 percent. NBC News, "Power outages planned for nearly 500,000 as California braces for more fires," 24 Oct. 2020 Across the northerly state, glaciers have melted, ground has thawed, and sea ice-free waters have begun to encroach on shores. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "The 2010s Were the Hottest Decade on Record. What Happens Next?," 16 Jan. 2020 Temperatures were expected to stay low across Southcentral Alaska early in the week as strong northerly winds move into the area, O’Brien said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage sees first snowfall of the season, but winter weather is not expected to last long," 19 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'northerly.' 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 northerly

Adjective or adverb

circa 1544, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1895, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for northerly

Adjective or adverb

north entry 3 + -erly (as in easterly)

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Time Traveler for northerly

Time Traveler

The first known use of northerly was circa 1544

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Statistics for northerly

Last Updated

16 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Northerly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for northerly



English Language Learners Definition of northerly

: located in or moving toward the north
: blowing from the north


adjective or adverb
north·​er·​ly | \ ˈnȯr-t͟hər-lē How to pronounce northerly (audio) \

Kids Definition of northerly

1 : from the north a northerly wind
2 : toward the north a northerly city We sailed northerly.

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