west·​ern | \ ˈwe-stərn How to pronounce western (audio) \

Definition of western

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : coming from the west a western storm
b : situated or lying toward the west islands in the western half of the archipelago
2 or Western : of, relating to, or characteristic of a region conventionally designated West: such as
a : steeped in or stemming from the Greco-Roman traditions Western culture
b : of or relating to the noncommunist countries of Europe and America Western powers
c : of, relating to, or characteristic of the American West Western clothes western music
3 Western : of or relating to the Roman Catholic or Protestant segment of Christianity Western liturgies



Definition of western (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is produced in or characteristic of a western region and especially the western U.S.
2 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

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Other Words from western


westernmost \ ˈwe-​stərn-​ˌmōst How to pronounce westernmost (audio) \ adjective

Examples of western in a Sentence


the western part of the state Old western movies are my favorites.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The home, which has been featured in Domino, is close to the western entrance of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "That Instagram-Famous Joshua Tree Home is Finally on Airbnb," 8 Mar. 2019 The Atlantic Corridor, Appalachians, and Intermountain regions, as well the Desert Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, and western Hawaii will all receive less rainfall than usual. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Old Farmer's Almanac Predicts a Cold, Rainless Spring for Most of the Country," 5 Mar. 2019 Now, an archaeological study has discovered what appears to be the oldest tattooing artifact in western North America. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The United States' Oldest Tattoo Needle Is an Inked-Up Cactus Spine," 28 Feb. 2019 The Marshall Islands, a chain in the western Pacific, have a strategy to keep themselves above water: simply make the land a bit higher. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "To Save Themselves from Sea Level Rise, the Marshall Islands Want to Raise the Land," 26 Feb. 2019 Luckily, a workplace like Vogue allows a more liberal approach towards dressing, so nobody really bats an eye at my cool, lime green Calvin Klein 205W39NYC boots, which are ultra pointy and western-inspired. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Men In Heels? I Put the Tricky Trend to the Test," 26 Feb. 2019 Experts believe that the recent changes above the North Pole will cause temperatures to drop drastically in the northeastern U.S, western Europe, and northern Asia over the next month. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "A Polar Vortex Split Is Bringing Snow and Brutal Winter Weather to Much of the U.S.," 16 Jan. 2019 There was chintz, there were pastels and ruffles, there were also neons, there was mirrored furniture, and also country-western inspired decor. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Exactly Is Retro Furniture?," 14 Jan. 2019 My favorite of these as of late is Cocaine and Rhinestones, a historical retelling of the biggest stories in 20th-century country-and-western music. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "A few of our favorite podcasts in 2018, from new to new-to-us," 23 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The route, which bypassed western Europe to pass over the Norwegian Sea, likely spanned more than seven thousand miles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russian Strategic Nuclear Bombers Fly to Venezuela for Exercises," 11 Dec. 2018 In fact, the first feature by South African director Michael Matthews and writer Sean Drummond is many westerns. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’ Review: South Africa’s Meta-Western," 13 Sep. 2018 In a scene straight out of a Hollywood western, a group of cowboys stepped in to save the day when a bull broke loose Monday and began a rampage in downtown Oklahoma City -- coming dangerously close to a hospital and bus station. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Bull escapes Oklahoma City pen, dies after gallivanting near hospital," 15 Aug. 2018 And traditionally, violence — and especially violence towards women — in westerns is perpetrated by Native Americans. refinery29.com, "Finally, A Western That's Not About A Dude & His Horse," 26 June 2018 The Disney and Lucasfilm space western is expected to gross $150 million to $180 million during the long Memorial Day weekend, which should be enough loot to pay off Jabba if nothing else. David Lazarus, latimes.com, "California Inc.: From a galaxy far, far away ... heeere's Han!," 21 May 2018 The appeal of the western has certainly rubbed off on Zhao, who’s now immersed in writing one. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "The western rides back from the sunset in 'The Rider,' one of the best films of the year," 19 Apr. 2018 Traditionally in westerns, the indigenous people are just the bad guys. refinery29.com, "Finally, A Western That's Not About A Dude & His Horse," 26 June 2018 Khali the Killer is a violent crime drama that, based on the actual trailer, seems to draw a lot of influence from westerns and '70s exploitation films. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Sony tries to upload movie trailer to YouTube, posts entire movie instead," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'western.' 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 western


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


1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for western


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

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Statistics for western

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for western

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

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More Definitions for western



English Language Learners Definition of western

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: located in or toward the west
: of or relating to the countries of North America and Western Europe
: of or relating to the American West



English Language Learners Definition of western (Entry 2 of 2)

: a story, movie, or television show about life in the American West in the late 19th century especially : a movie about cowboys


west·​ern | \ ˈwe-stərn How to pronounce western (audio) \

Kids Definition of western

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or like that of the West
2 : lying toward or coming from the west


noun, often capitalized

Kids Definition of western (Entry 2 of 2)

: a story, film, or radio or television show about life in the western United States especially in the last part of the 19th century

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More from Merriam-Webster on western

Spanish Central: Translation of western

Nglish: Translation of western for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of western for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about western

Comments on western

What made you want to look up western? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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