north·​ern | \ ˈnȯr-t͟hərn, ˈnȯr-t͟hən\

Definition of northern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized

a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a region conventionally designated North
b : of, relating to, or constituting the northern dialect
2a : lying toward the north
b : coming from the north a northern storm



Definition of northern (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : the dialect of English spoken in the part of the U.S. north of a line running northwest through central New Jersey, below the northern tier of counties in Pennsylvania, through northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, across central Iowa, and through the northwest corner of South Dakota

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Other Words from northern


northernmost \ ˈnȯr-​t͟hə(r)n-​ˌmōst \ adjective

Examples of northern in a Sentence


the northern part of the state

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Conversation turned toward romance and the power of fantasy: In some marriages, both partners become Mr. and Mrs. C. In others, one hears the northern call while the other supports from the sidelines. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 There appears to be a genetic component: the condition is more common among people of northern and eastern European descent, and more frequently diagnosed in women than in men. Nadia Berenstein, SELF, "Holiday Parties Bring Out the Worst of My Rosacea," 19 Dec. 2018 Now, the agencies have been able to narrow down the outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in the Central Coast region of northern and central California. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Food safety detectives are zeroing in on source of romaine lettuce E. Coli outbreak," 27 Nov. 2018 The discovery, a decade in the making, shows that water ice exists in both the southern and northern poles of Earth's only natural satellite. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Find Direct Evidence of Water Ice on the Lunar Surface," 21 Aug. 2018 Populations of the turtles are split geographically into northern and southern groups. John D. Simmons, charlotteobserver, "Tiny turtles face uncertain fate in Gaston County," 29 June 2018 By Jill Toyoshiba Far northern and northeastern Missouri will be under a heat advisory through Saturday as well. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Dangerous, prolonged heat expected in Kansas City metro area into the weekend," 28 June 2018 Broadly, the more northern parts of the US are warming faster than the southern ones, so the climate shifts tend to be larger. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Watch how the climate could change in these US cities by 2050," 30 Nov. 2018 After studying transit and job patterns, Bluestone found that roughly 80 percent of workers tend to work and commute within the northern or southern halves of Boston, meaning the job market for many Bostonians is geographically segregated. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As top innovation hub expands, can straining local infrastructure keep pace?," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Between May and August, Freeze might catch fewer than 10 northerns at his arboreal outpost just off Interstate 95. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, "A mysterious disease is killing millions of bats. These scientists are trying to save them.," 12 July 2018 This is not a new polarization in the western states or in other northern settled regions. Steve Haycox, Anchorage Daily News, "Economic reality sets the stage for tension over ANWR drilling," 9 Mar. 2018 Connecting with history through Mexican folklórico dance (3:25) Numerically speaking, Wilma and Harold Matz are rarer around here than the endangered northern spotted owl. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "‘Greatest generation’ is fading, but it’s still got choice words for our own," 23 Aug. 2017

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


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


1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for northern


Middle English northerne, from Old English; akin to Old High German nordrōni northern, Old English north north

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Statistics for northern

Last Updated

7 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for northern

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

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More Definitions for northern



English Language Learners Definition of northern

: located in or toward the north

: of or relating to the north


north·​ern | \ ˈnȯr-t͟hərn \

Kids Definition of northern

1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or like that of the North northern weather
2 : lying toward or coming from the north northern Europe

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More from Merriam-Webster on northern

Spanish Central: Translation of northern

Nglish: Translation of northern for Spanish Speakers

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

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