south·​ern | \ ˈsə-t͟hərn How to pronounce southern (audio) \

Definition of southern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : of, relating to, or characteristic of a region conventionally designated South
2a : lying toward the south
b : coming from the south a southern wind



Definition of Southern (Entry 2 of 2)

: the dialect of English spoken in most of the Chesapeake Bay area, the coastal plain and the greater part of the upland plateau in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and the Gulf states at least as far west as the valley of the Brazos in Texas and sometimes taken to include the south Midland area

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Other Words from southern


southernmost \ ˈsə-​t͟hərn-​ˌmōst How to pronounce southernmost (audio) \ adjective
southernness \ ˈsə-​t͟hərn-​nəs How to pronounce southernness (audio) \ noun, often capitalized

Examples of southern in a Sentence


the southern part of the state the southern shore of the lake

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Securing the Solomons would protect halt Japan’s southern advance towards Australia and New Zealand while setting the groundwork for the beginning of a counteroffensive to push the Japanese all the way back to the Japanese home islands. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Explorers Have Found the Wreckage of the Sunken World War II Aircraft Carrier USS Wasp," 14 Mar. 2019 Designed by architecture group Snøhetta, Under is located on the southern Norwegian coastline, by the village of Båly. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "You Won't Believe What This Underwater Restaurant Looks Like Inside," 21 Feb. 2019 The president’s popularity has dropped below 40 percent amid what is now a six-day partial government shutdown over funding for Trump’s southern border wall, according to a poll from Morning Consult conducted from December 21 to 23. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Trump’s approval rating drops to Charlottesville levels during shutdown," 27 Dec. 2018 But there are thousands of miles of unpatrolled areas along Venezuela’s sparsely populated western and southern borders. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Venezuelan Regime," 25 Feb. 2019 With Netanyahu seemingly unbeatable, and the country dealing with security challenges on its northern and southern borders, the 2019 election has seen a revival in generals jumping into politics. Aron Heller, The Seattle Times, "Israeli ex-army chief launches campaign to replace Netanyahu," 29 Jan. 2019 None of them mentioned marauding caravans massing at the southern border. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “Russia Did Not Help Me!”," 3 Feb. 2019 The impasse stems from a disagreement between president Trump and Congress concerning the GOP's plan for a $5 billion wall on the southern border with Mexico. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Major Airports Face Staffing Shortages and Delays Amid Government Shutdown," 25 Jan. 2019 And to say people were grateful for the reminder of his southern style is an understatement. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Gwen Stefani Just Resurfaced the Ultimate Throwback Photo of Boyfriend Blake Shelton," 17 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'southern.' 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 southern


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


1935, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for southern


Middle English southern, southren, from Old English sūtherne; akin to Old High German sundrōni southern, Old English sūth south

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Statistics for southern

Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for southern

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

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English Language Learners Definition of southern

: located in or toward the south
: of or relating to the south
: of or relating to the people born, raised, or living in the southeastern U.S.


south·​ern | \ ˈsə-t͟hərn How to pronounce southern (audio) \

Kids Definition of southern

1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or like that of the South a southern climate
2 : lying toward or coming from the south southern Asia

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More from Merriam-Webster on southern

Spanish Central: Translation of southern

Nglish: Translation of southern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of southern for Arabic Speakers

Comments on southern

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


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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