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


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

Examples of southern in a Sentence

Adjective the southern part of the state the southern shore of the lake
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective West has represented southern Dallas in the Texas Senate since 1993. Dallas News, "Senate runoff contenders MJ Hegar, Royce West clash over Democratic credentials, ethics," 30 June 2020 But the restrictions do cover, among others, migrants who arrive at the southern border to seek asylum. The Economist, "No entry The Trump administration is using the pandemic to halt asylum," 30 June 2020 The pandemic is raging in key population centers in southern states that heeded the President's demands for a rapid reopening. Stephen Collinson With Caitlin Hu, CNN, "'It would help if from time to time the President would wear one'," 29 June 2020 City staff and the mayor have received less than a dozen inquiries about renaming Robert E. Lee Drive and Stonewall Lane, both off John Gray Road near the city’s southern border. Sue Kiesewetter, The Enquirer, "Mayor: Fairfield needs a policy before street name changes can be considered," 26 June 2020 One of the suits was filed by California, New Mexico and 14 other states, the other by the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, which focuses on immigration policies and conditions at the southern U.S. border. Bob Egelko,, "Court says Trump’s diversion of military money to build border wall was illegal," 26 June 2020 Approximately 650 miles of the 2,000-mile southern border has a barrier to prevent individuals or vehicles from illegally crossing. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Appeals court rules against Trump's 'unlawful' border wall funding," 26 June 2020 The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is a setback for Mr. Trump, who has been vocal in his commitment to follow through on a campaign pledge of erecting a wall at the southern border to deter unauthorized crossings and drug smuggling. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Trump lacked authority to use military funds for border wall construction, court rules," 26 June 2020 In the past year, the justices also let the administration deter poor immigrants and redirect military funds to build a wall along the southern border. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court allows quick removal of asylum seekers," 25 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for southern

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for southern

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Southern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for southern


How to pronounce Southern (audio)

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

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