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

This is the project in a clamshell: Two 35-mile, 40-foot-wide tunnels under the delta from the estuary’s northern end on the Sacramento River to aqueducts at the southern edge. George Skelton,, "What do Southern Californians really get out of Gov. Jerry Brown's twin tunnels project?," 12 July 2018 To gain a solid mandate, Mr. Khan needs to snatch seats from Mr. Sharif’s strongholds across northern and central Punjab, in constituencies like Attock, where Mr. Sharif’s candidate has previously been elected six times. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "Pakistan Vote to Turn on Pivotal Province," 8 July 2018 In northern New Mexico, a wildfire closed a ranch where novelist D.H. Lawrence once sought spiritual renewal. Colleen Slevin, Fox News, "Fires menace US West, tornado touches Colorado wildfire site," 6 July 2018 In northern New Mexico, a wildfire closed a ranch where novelist D.H. Lawrence once sought spiritual renewal. CBS News, "More than 60 large wildfires burning across U.S.," 6 July 2018 Then there is the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Canada, which has helped industrialise northern and central Mexico. The Economist, "Will AMLO deliver?," 5 July 2018 Some types of sharks have long been in the waters off western and northern Alaska, but those don't usually go after live mammals. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Research: Sharks might be eating more northern seals and sea lions in Alaska waters," 4 July 2018 Democrats hope to use that against Chabot, particularly with suburban women across a district that spans western and northern Hamilton County and all of Warren County. Jason Williams,, "PX column: Aftab Pureval builds war chest as outside groups spend big money attacking Chabot," 3 July 2018 Voters in the northern and central parts of Baltimore County are set to choose between a slate of County Council candidates in the June 26 primary. Libby Solomon,, "Meet the council candidates in central Baltimore County," 12 June 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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Phrases Related to northern

the Northern Lights

Statistics for northern

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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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

Comments on northern

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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