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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The final leg of the Five Boro Bike Tour, a ride of nearly 40 miles through every section of New York City, features the long climb up the Verrazano Bridge from the southern end of Brooklyn to Staten Island. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "E-Biking My Way Through New York's Five Boro Bike Tour," 9 May 2019 Some species of ticks in certain parts of the country can transmit illnesses like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), and southern-tick associated rash illness (STARI), the CDC states. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Remove a Tick the Right Way," 17 Apr. 2019 The jets had just refueled high above Saudi Arabia and now sped towards their target, a gigantic airfield near Iraq’s southern border. Mark Smith, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Panavia Tornado Is Such a Badass Plane," 10 Apr. 2019 Today the orca population among the southern residents stands at just 74 individual whales — a 35-year low. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Orca survival may be impossible without Lower Snake River dam removal, scientists say," 15 Oct. 2018 Leading the charge was cleric Khadim Rizvi's political party, which won three provincial seats in southern Sindh province by campaigning on a single issue — the finality of the Prophet Muhammad. Fox News, "Pakistan's Ahmadis fearful as leaders bow to extremists," 28 Sep. 2018 The major exception is southern-resident killer whales, which remain critically endangered. Anchorage Daily News, "Whale strandings off Washington-Oregon coast highest in nearly 2 decades," 3 July 2018 Sellner denied having anything to do with the March 15 massacre, in which 50 Muslims were killed in the southern New Zealand city. Frank Jordans, The Seattle Times, "Austrian far-right activist probed over ties to NZ suspect," 26 Mar. 2019 In recent years, southern cities like Charleston, Savannah, Austin, and Houston have been on the radar for domestic travel, taking the place of chic metropolises like Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 19 Best Places to Travel in 2019," 10 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

15 May 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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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