\ ˈsau̇th How to pronounce south (audio) \

Definition of south

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : to, toward, or in the south a house facing south
2 : into a state of decline or ruin causes the sluggish economy to go south— G. F. Will



Definition of south (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : situated toward or at the south the south entrance
2 : coming from the south a south wind



Definition of south (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : the direction of the south terrestrial pole : the direction to the right of one facing east
b : the compass point directly opposite to north
2 capitalized : regions or countries lying to the south of a specified or implied point of orientation especially : the southeastern part of the U.S.
3 : the right side of a church looking toward the altar from the nave
4 often capitalized
a : the one of four positions at 90-degree intervals that lies to the south or at the bottom of a diagram
b : a person (such as a bridge player) occupying this position in the course of a specified activity specifically : the declarer in bridge
5 often capitalized : the developing nations of the world : third world sense 1 — compare north sense 2b


biographical name
\ ˈsau̇th How to pronounce South (audio) \

Definition of South (Entry 4 of 4)

Robert 1634–1716 English clergyman

Examples of south in a Sentence

Adverb Turn south onto Elm Street. It's a mile south of here. The birds fly south in the winter. The company's profits have gone south in recent months. The TV show's ratings have been heading south. Noun The wind blew from the south. The birds migrate from the South. Parts of the South were hit hard by the storm. I grew up in the South. The American Civil War was between the North and the South.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb In Rosewood, a small black town nine miles south of Cedar Key, the violence left eight dead, including six blacks. al, "Florida considers compensation for victims of 1920 Election Day race riot," 23 Oct. 2020 Lodwrick Monroe Cook III was born June 17, 1928, and grew up in the hamlet of Grand Cane, about 35 miles south of Shreveport. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Arco CEO Danced on TV to Aid Los Angeles Library," 23 Oct. 2020 Nyssa is about 13 miles south of Ontario, one of Oregon’s hotspots. oregonlive, "Six Oregon ZIP codes with the most new coronavirus cases per capita," 23 Oct. 2020 Brown County High School is a public school in Nashville, roughly 50 miles south of Indianapolis. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Indiana H.S. student listed as 'Black guy' in yearbook caption," 22 Oct. 2020 Crab Orchard is on the east side of the county, around 45 miles south of Lexington, and had a population of 841 listed in the 2010 census. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "'OctCOVID Fest,' to the relief of the local health director, is canceled in Central Kentucky," 21 Oct. 2020 The retired schoolteacher opened a cooler full of shrimp from an acquaintance who went on a fishing expedition 130 miles south in a river that empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Star Tribune, "Looking Back At Tuesday's Record Snow - Another Wintry And Rainy System Thursday," 21 Oct. 2020 The money from the painting was enough for Bonheur to buy the Château de By, about 50 miles south of Paris—a three-story 17th-century manor house with lofts, garages for carriages, stables and a greenhouse, built on the vestiges of a 1413 chateau. Claudine Doury, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Redemption of Rosa Bonheur," 20 Oct. 2020 The Nazca Lines are geometric shapes and animal drawings etched into the Peruvian desert 250 miles south of Lima, the capital. TheWeek, "Archaeologists discover 2,000-year-old giant cat geoglyph amid Peru's Nazca Lines," 20 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The president’s jabs in his bid to flip Minnesota felt fresh as Omar urged supporters to knock on doors across south Minneapolis on her behalf. Torey Van Oot Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "For Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, re-election turnout is about more than a win," 26 Oct. 2020 Stinnette and Williams were shot around 11:55 p.m. Tuesday on the south side of Waukegan. Clifford Ward,, "FBI joining investigation into fatal Waukegan police shooting of Black teen, state’s attorney says," 23 Oct. 2020 The truck veered off the south side of the roadway, troopers reported. Jeannie Roberts, Arkansas Online, "Driver fleeing Faulkner County deputies dies in fiery collision," 22 Oct. 2020 The first lawsuit resulted in changes to two Assembly districts on Milwaukee's south side. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Law Forward is a new law firm meant to push back against conservatives," 22 Oct. 2020 The south side will link between the YMCA pond and seven-acre park. Alvaro Montano, Chron, "Harris County increases connectivity, flood protection by expanding greenway projects in 2021," 21 Oct. 2020 The commission approved final plans for Preston Vineyard, a 165-lot planned unit development on 82.8 acres on the south side of U.S. 190, west of La. 1077, north of Interstate 12 and Madisonville. Bill Mchugh,, "Planning commission approves just one subdivision," 19 Oct. 2020 Rob McDade said technical rescue teams were arriving on the south side of the park, where the man was found half a mile from the parking lot. Audrey Jensen, The Arizona Republic, "Man found unresponsive on South Mountain Park trail is in critical condition," 16 Oct. 2020 On Wednesday night, a 1-year-old boy was killed and his 9-year-old sister injured following a hit-and-run on the city's south side. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, "1-year-old struck and killed by car on east side identified," 16 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Along with the moon, don't forget to also look for these planets: Jupiter will appear at 27 degrees above the horizon in the south-southwest with Saturn to the left at 29 degrees above the horizon, according to NASA. Anne Ryman, The Arizona Republic, "When to see the 'blue moon' and why it's special in 2020," 27 Oct. 2020 The district is considered a potentially pivotal swing district in Minnesota, running from the Twin Cities southern suburbs through Prior Lake, Burnsville and south past Wabasha. Briana Bierschbach, Star Tribune, "Pot party candidate: GOP recruited him to 'pull votes' from DFL congresswoman," 27 Oct. 2020 Snow is falling Monday from Arizona to Wisconsin, with freezing rain and sleet further south into Texas and Oklahoma. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "Early season winter storm could cover many states, from the Southwest to the Great Lakes, in snow or ice," 26 Oct. 2020 In the arid south, brown or ringed lemurs can scamper for miles on the ground; in Antohakalava, the species are largely arboreal and stay high up in the trees, safe from a catlike predator called the foosa. Erik Vance, New York Times, "In Madagascar, Endangered Lemurs Find a Private Refuge," 26 Oct. 2020 Barely 30,000 people live in Desert Hot Springs, a hardscrabble community in Riverside County just a dozen miles from its more glamorous neighbor to the south, Palm Springs. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Money was made fast and furiously’: The FBI probe into Borrego Health," 25 Oct. 2020 The robber later admitted to killing the couple and dumping their bodies in a well south of San Quintin, according to prosecutor Hiram Sanchez. Wendy Fry, Los Angeles Times, "When Americans go missing in Mexico, U.S. officials have to tell loved ones, ‘Go to Mexico’," 25 Oct. 2020 Jennie Robinson, who represents south Huntsville on the city council, said the city council shouldn’t get involved. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Huntsville leaders question police transparency after fatal shooting," 23 Oct. 2020 In Belgium’s French-speaking south, the epicenter of the current wave, cases in nursing homes nearly tripled in the last week, to 22 infections per 1,000 residents. Washington Post, "Covid-19 surge in Belgium leads to shortage of doctors, teachers and police," 23 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'south.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of south


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for south


Middle English, from Old English sūth; akin to Old High German sund- south and probably to Old English sunne sun

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about south

Time Traveler for south

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for south

Last Updated

27 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“South.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for south


How to pronounce South (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of south

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to or toward the south
US, informal : into a worse state or condition



English Language Learners Definition of south (Entry 2 of 3)

: located in or toward the south
: coming from the south



English Language Learners Definition of south (Entry 3 of 3)

: the direction that is to your right when you are facing the rising sun : the direction that is the opposite of north
: regions or countries south of a certain point especially : the southern part of the U.S.


\ ˈsau̇th How to pronounce south (audio) \

Kids Definition of south

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to or toward the south The cabin faces south.



Kids Definition of south (Entry 2 of 3)

: placed toward, facing, or coming from the south a south wind



Kids Definition of south (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : the direction to the right of someone facing east : the compass point opposite to north
2 capitalized : regions or countries south of a point that is mentioned or understood

More from Merriam-Webster on south

Nglish: Translation of south for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of south for Arabic Speakers

Comments on south

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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