septentrional

adjective

sep·​ten·​tri·​o·​nal sep-ˈten-trē-ə-nᵊl How to pronounce septentrional (audio)

Did you know?

Look to the northern night skies for the origin of septentrional. Latin Septentriones (or Septemtriones) refers to the seven stars in Ursa Major that make up the Big Dipper, or sometimes to the seven stars in Ursa Minor that comprise the Little Dipper. Because of the reliable northerly presence of these stars, Septentriones was extended to mean "northern quarter of the sky," or simply "the north"-hence, our borrowed adjective septentrional, meaning "northern." The noun septentrion also appears in works in Middle and Early Modern English to designate "northern regions" or "the north." In Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part III, for example, the Duke of York rebukes Queen Margaret, saying: "Thou art as opposite to every good … as the South to the Septentrion."

Examples of septentrional in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Dominican Republic flyovers could help scientists understand future earthquakes on the Septentrional fault. Betsy Mason, WIRED, 27 Jan. 2010

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'septentrional.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of septentrional was in the 14th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near septentrional

Cite this Entry

“Septentrional.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/septentrional. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!