south·​ern | \ˈsə-t͟hərn \

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 \ adjective
southernness \ˈsə-​t͟hərn-​nəs \ 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

Near the southern town of Arles, a man died in a car accident at a gilets jaunes roadblock. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Macron, Astride the Globe, Overlooked Swelling Anger at Home," 7 Dec. 2018 Located in the Thimble Islands of Long Island Sound, Potato Island is a one-acre snippet of land with a 3,871-square-foot house sitting on the island’s southern end. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Charming 1912 house on a private island asks $4.9M," 5 Dec. 2018 Officials are currently warning people to evacuate parts of southern California where the Holy Fire burned more than 23,000 acres this summer. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Why fire-scorched California is now readying for mudslides," 30 Nov. 2018 Their only recourse is to engineer a white apartheid system similar to how many southern governments operated during Jim Crow, where Black populations were denied the vote while being subjected to the rule of white people. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 The African penguin, as its name suggests, can be found on southern African coastlines. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 In some parts of the country—including one area of southern New Jersey—kids must be off the streets as early as 7 p.m., according to 6 ABC. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "What Time Does Trick-or-Treating Start?," 19 Oct. 2018 Charlottesville, Virginia This fun college town is the perfect southern destination. The Editors, Seventeen, "The Best Road Trips to Take With Your Besties," 27 Aug. 2018 And Hayabusa2 will drop three small rovers onto patches of the space rock's northern hemisphere, so a southern site for the 22-lb. Mike Wall,, "Landing Site on Asteroid Ryugu Chosen for Japan's Hayabusa2 Mission," 23 Aug. 2018

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

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for southern

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

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More Definitions for southern



English Language Learners Definition of southern

: located in or toward the south

: of or relating to the south

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


south·​ern | \ˈsə-t͟hərn \

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).


living or existing for a long time

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