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 An Oregon surfer was enjoying the waves off the state’s northern coast in December when he was attacked by a shark believed to be a great white. The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "The most-read stories on OregonLive in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Memorials to sailors and fishermen lost at sea dot the country’s northern coast. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Search for 17 Russian Fishermen Is Under Way," 28 Dec. 2020 Part of the First International Polar Year, 25 men were sent to the northern coast of Ellesmere Island to establish a station and make scientific observations. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "Our reviewers read a lot of books in 2020. Here are their favorites.," 25 Dec. 2020 The northern Gulf Coast took the heaviest brunt of the 12 landfalls in the U.S. . David Schutz,, "These are the 20 most-read stories of 2020 on," 24 Dec. 2020 People walk here along the northern coast of the San Francisco Bay, crowding a path that bends to the contour of the shore. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "A pandemic side effect: Used masks polluting California coastal waters," 11 Dec. 2020 Along Honduras’ northern Caribbean coast, torrential rains from Eta’s outer bands caused some rivers to overwhelm their banks, forcing evacuations, the report states. Natalia E. Contreras, The Indianapolis Star, "'I'm heartbroken': How these Honduran Hoosiers are helping after Hurricane Eta," 11 Nov. 2020 The current forecast meanders Eta around the Gulf through late week before potentially making a second landfall along the northern Gulf Coast of Florida late Friday into early Saturday. NBC News, "Tropical Storm Eta brings rain and flash flooding to Florida; could strengthen into hurricane," 9 Nov. 2020 Just nine California counties voted against the proposition, mostly along the northern coast. Kellie Hwang,, "How the Bay Area voted on key races vs. the rest of California," 4 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The northern-most sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates hopes a new adventure camp showcasing its wide-open spaces, fresh air and socially distanced mountain peaks can aid in reviving its tourist industry amid the coronavirus pandemic. Jon Gambrell,, "UAE sheikhdom hopes Bear Grylls camp draws pandemic tourists," 9 Oct. 2020 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Northern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of northern for Spanish Speakers

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

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