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 The storms developed as Pacific moisture ahead of a cold front combined with northerly Gulf moisture over southeast Texas. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Houston in for a wet and soggy Wednesday; up to 2 inches of rain possible," 22 Jan. 2020 Extreme swings between freezing and thawing can kill buds on trees, or lead to rain in northerly climes that is followed by freezing weather, forming a barrier of ice that prevents foraging animals like caribou from reaching vital winter browse. Jim Robbins, Wired, "It's Not Just You—Wild Swings in Extreme Weather Are Rising," 30 Dec. 2019 On April 2, 1979, a day with a northerly breeze, a man named Vasily Ivanov stepped outside in the Soviet city then known as Sverdlovsk to walk his dog. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Jeanne Guillemin, pioneering researcher who uncovered a Cold War secret, dies at 76," 12 Dec. 2019 Other, more northerly Western Alaska villages such as Kivalina and Shishmaref have also been the subjects of relocation studies. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "Warmer weather will cost Alaska hundreds of millions of dollars annually, report says," 9 Dec. 2019 By 2050, on south-facing slopes at 1,500 metres, there will be an estimated 25 fewer days of snow on the ground each year and 20 days fewer on northerly aspects. The Economist, "Death in the Alps," 20 Dec. 2019 Flaherty said, adding a northerly wind pushed the fire from the garage into the house. David Owens,, "Fire heavily damages East Granby home," 1 Dec. 2019 In Montana, Big Sky’s northerly latitude and decent amount of north-facing terrain help slopes stay cooler. New York Times, "The Snowiest Mountains: Where to Ski, and When," 27 Nov. 2019 But while Billings sits a couple thousand feet lower than Denver at about 3,100 feet in elevation, its northerly location slightly better positions it for sharp, early season cold fronts. Chris Bianchi, The Denver Post, "Denver has the third-earliest average first snow of any American city," 29 Sep. 2019

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

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Northerly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce northerly (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on northerly

Spanish Central: Translation of northerly

Nglish: Translation of northerly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of northerly for Arabic Speakers

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