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 Guard’s deployment began in mid-June at Mexico’s southern border, and will continue to spread throughout the country—including in Mexico City, a move considered nearly without precedent—with 70,000 in position by year’s end. Madeleine Wattenbarger, The New Republic, "Did the Mexican People Really Win?," 5 July 2019 In several incidents, Rodriguez approached would-be victims who had arrived at the southern U.S. border from Central American countries to apply for asylum and had been released to their family members in the Northeast, according to court documents. Zach Murdock,, "Immigrant man sentenced to 11 years in prison for role in scheme to kidnap, ransom other immigrants," 3 July 2019 Protesters also disrupted Amazon sites in the southern city of Toulouse and northern city of Lille, hoping to inspire similar action in other countries. Washington Post, "French protesters block Amazon sites over climate, jobs," 2 July 2019 Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve lies at the community’s southern border. Martina Schimitschek, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rancho Peñasquitos: With tract homes and cul-de-sacs, the quintessential family-friendly suburb," 30 June 2019 Some Democrats consider borders that are porous and not dangerous to cross to be the most just and properly American outcome of the humanitarian crisis on the southern border. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Democratic Primary’s Moving Margins," 30 June 2019 An 80-year-old man collapsed and died in the street in Valladolid, in northwest Spain, the agency said, and a 17-year-old boy died in the southern city of Cordoba after diving into a swimming pool and losing consciousness. Angela Charlton,, "Record-setting heat wave baking much of Europe," 28 June 2019 The owner of Green Planet in the southern city of Caserta chained himself to the fence around his locked shop this month after a raid in which police seized 16 grams of cannabis light. Colleen Barry,, "Italy’s ‘cannabis light’ creates buzz even if the pot won’t," 27 June 2019 In the southern city of Kashgar, once a jewel of the Silk Road — and closer to Baghdad than to Beijing — morning calls to prayer have been silenced. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Why Won’t American Politicians Talk about Chinese Authoritarianism?," 26 June 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

10 Jul 2019

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
: 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).


something desired as essential

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