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west·​ern ˈwe-stərn How to pronounce western (audio)
: coming from the west
a western storm
: situated or lying toward the west
islands in the western half of the archipelago
or Western : of, relating to, or characteristic of a region conventionally designated West: such as
: steeped in or stemming from the Greco-Roman traditions
Western culture
: of or relating to the noncommunist countries of Europe and America
Western powers
: of, relating to, or characteristic of the American West
Western clothes
western music
Western : of or relating to the Roman Catholic or Protestant segment of Christianity
Western liturgies


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: one that is produced in or characteristic of a western region and especially the western U.S.
often capitalized : a novel, story, motion picture, or broadcast dealing with life in the western U.S. especially during the latter half of the 19th century

Examples of western in a Sentence

Adjective the western part of the state Old western movies are my favorites.
Recent Examples on the Web
That’s the arrangement Kate Crawford, a Licensed Professional Counselor in western Alabama, has with her husband. Kyle Austin Young, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 According to Ducks Unlimited, 30 to 75 percent of wood ducks in the eastern and western regions of the United States are year-round residents. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 15 Feb. 2024 Details were scarce, though the blasts hit a natural gas pipeline running from Iran's western Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province up north to cities on the Caspian Sea. Jon Gambrell The Associated Press, arkansasonline.com, 15 Feb. 2024 The four-year conversion took place at the yacht’s home shipyard of Damen Maaskant in the western Netherlands. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 The first explores the volcanic archipelago's eastern islands, including Floreana, Española, and San Cristóbal, while the second targets the western islands of Isabella, Fernandina, and Santiago. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 14 Feb. 2024 Williams grew up in western North Carolina, graduated from UNC in the early 1970s, spent 10 years as an assistant coach for the legendary Smith in Chapel Hill and then left to become Kansas’ head basketball coach from 1988-2003. Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer, 13 Feb. 2024 The Fort Worth brewery serves the entire western United States as well as brands including Topo Chico, Simply, Pabst and Yuengling. Elizabeth Campbell, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 13 Feb. 2024 The area’s flood advisory was extended southeast, including parts of western El Dorado County. Hanh Truong, Sacramento Bee, 13 Feb. 2024
The Hollywood western, of course, mythologized this country’s deserts and prairies as dramatic vistas against which such filmmakers as John Ford, Howard Hawks and Sam Peckinpah could foreground their rugged characters. Hugh Hart, Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2024 Directed by Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog is a 1920s western based on the book of the same name by Thomas Savage that follows Phil, a gruff cowboy, and his brother's new family who have recently moved onto the ranch. EW.com, 8 Nov. 2023 Felipe Gálvez directs this historical western about three men who are sent on a violent journey through the South American wilderness by a wealthy businessman. Zachary Barnes, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2024 Plus, Scorsese grew up watching John Ford westerns. Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times, 8 Jan. 2024 Sunday California’s high-desert scenery often feels like the backdrop of an old western (in Pioneertown, northwest of the park, a set used for many films of the western genre still stands). Lucky Benson, New York Times, 14 Dec. 2023 So many westerns are effectively road movies, which is sort of your subgenre. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 8 Dec. 2023 This is the movie that, for so many women my age, fulfilled the feminist promise we were raised on but rarely saw on the big screen: that our lives and friendships were worthy of the buddy films, road pictures and mythic westerns long dominated by adventurous, rule-flouting men. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 In June, special prosecutors accused Gutierrez Reed of drinking and smoking marijuana during off-hours while the western was in production. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'western.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English westerne, from Old English; akin to Old High German westrōni western, Old English west

First Known Use


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


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of western was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near western

Cite this Entry

“Western.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/western. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
west·​ern ˈwes-tərn How to pronounce western (audio)
capitalized : of, relating to, or resembling that of the West
: lying toward or coming from the west
a western storm


2 of 2 noun
: a story, film, or radio or television show about life in the western U.S. in the last part of the 19th century

More from Merriam-Webster on western

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