north·​ern | \ ˈnȯr-t͟hərn How to pronounce northern (audio) , 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

Examples of northern in a Sentence

Adjective the northern part of the state
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The company last week opened its first store, inside the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in northern New Jersey. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "After going out of business, Toys R Us returns to Houston with more interactive store," 6 Dec. 2019 A few weeks after his acquittal in 2013, Zimmerman was pulled over for speeding in northern Texas and sent on his way with a warning. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "George Zimmerman lawsuit reminds us of how significant the Trayvon Martin case was for a divided country," 5 Dec. 2019 Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has caused consternation by buying a Russian anti-aircraft system, obstructing NATO’s decisions on eastern Europe and invading northern Syria without regard for his allies’ interests. The Economist, "NATO’s summit New troublemakers emerge," 5 Dec. 2019 Average water levels have fallen more than 20 feet from the early 1980s to recent years in the northern Phoenix area, including the Carefree, Lake Pleasant and Fountain Hills subbasins., "For decades, groundwater beneath Arizona's big cities has been spared. That's about to change," 5 Dec. 2019 Except this triathlon is held in the middle of a northern Wisconsin winter — Feb. 15. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Boulder Junction's Forest Frenzy is a fun winter triathlon for hardy athletes," 5 Dec. 2019 While northern blue carbon and the impact of climate change on polar regions are to be discussed, Antarctic blue carbon is not. Wired, "We Need to Protect Antarctic ‘Blue Carbon’," 4 Dec. 2019 In northern Virginia, more than 4,000 Dominion Energy customers woke up to a power outage Thursday morning. NBC News, "Thanksgiving Day winter storms cause travel woes across U.S.," 28 Nov. 2019 Last summer, Raunak and some friends, students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in northern Virginia, came up with a solution: start over. The Christian Science Monitor, "A triumph of truth about China’s detention camps," 19 Nov. 2019 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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Time Traveler for northern

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Northern.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for northern


How to pronounce northern (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of northern

: located in or toward the north
: of or relating to the north


north·​ern | \ ˈnȯr-t͟hərn How to pronounce northern (audio) \

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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