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

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Other Words from northern


northernmost \ ˈnȯr-​t͟hə(r)n-​ˌmōst How to pronounce northernmost (audio) \ adjective

Examples of northern in a Sentence


the northern part of the state

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

It is expected to dump snow into portions of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, with some areas seeing as much as 2 feet of snow. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "A Brutal Spring Snow Storm Is Going to Slam 200 Million People Across the U.S. This Week," 9 Apr. 2019 As a Carrancista spy, Herrera worked as a bartender in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Teen Vogue, "Mexican Revolutionary Petra Herrera Posed as a Man to Fight for Her Country," 1 Apr. 2019 The New People’s Army marked a half a century after its founding with an attack on a police patrol in northern Mountain Province that killed a policeman. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Philippine communist rebels mark 50th year with new attacks," 29 Mar. 2019 In the morning, Ulmer will continue to hit the northern Plains with blizzard conditions and strong winds. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "A Bomb Cyclone Will Slam 70 Million People Across the U.S. Because Winter Just Won't Quit," 13 Mar. 2019 In Turkey's northern Bolu province, Builder Sarot Group aimed to recreate the royal treatment for their buyers with the creation of the Burj Al Babas complex. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "These Abandoned Homes Look Exactly Like What a Disney Princess Would Live In," 13 Feb. 2019 Nearly three-quarters of the burial mounds in northern Xinjiang have been looted. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Satellites watch over the graves of ancient steppe nomads," 26 Dec. 2018 The Korolev crater formed sometime in Mars’ turbulent past, when another object slammed into the northern lowlands of the planet, leaving a scar fifty miles wide and more than a mile deep. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Mars orbiter sends a picture-perfect postcard back to Earth," 21 Dec. 2018 Wildlife ranger Joseph Wachira comforts Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhinoceros, in his final moments. Ernie Mastroianni, Discover Magazine, "Discover's Images of the Year 2018," 20 Dec. 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

15 Apr 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 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

Comments on northern

What made you want to look up northern? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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