west·​ern | \ˈwe-stərn \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from western


westernmost \ˈwe-​stərn-​ˌmōst \ 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

Some types of sharks have long been in the waters off western and northern Alaska, but those don't usually go after live mammals. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Research: Sharks might be eating more northern seals and sea lions in Alaska waters," 4 July 2018 The commission issued the order after Duke sought an increase in customers bills in central and western North Carolina. Cassie Cope And Deon Roberts, charlotteobserver, "Duke Energy plan to pass on coal ash costs to customers faces resistance from the state," 29 June 2018 Despite his expulsion, Shooter filed paperwork May 31 to run for state Senate in the same district, which stretches from the Valley's western edges to Yuma, where Shooter has an apartment. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "It's final: Don Shooter will be on ballot for Arizona Legislature, Supreme Court says," 27 June 2018 The Alona Rahab tore down the channel, nose high, and ran full throttle past the island’s western edge and into the storm. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 In 1995, Barb was divorced with two children when a friend invited her to a birthday party at Alibis, a country-and-western dance bar in Rogers, Ark., where Brian was a bouncer. Heather Gillers, WSJ, "‘I Was Hoping to Be Retired’: The Cost of Supporting Parents and Adult Children," 16 Nov. 2018 In recent years, as the result of a successful government military campaign, the rebellion has been reduced to rebel Sudan Liberation Army forces loyal to Elnur in western and southern Jebel Marra. Edith M. Lederer, The Seattle Times, "UN-AU envoy urges UN to consider action against Sudan rebel," 22 Oct. 2018 The biggest increases were reported in western and southern states, the CDC said. Fox News, "Number of newborns born with syphilis doubles in 4 years, CDC reports," 27 Sep. 2018 Clearing the western horizon at an altitude of 10 degrees (the width of your fist held at arm's length) will be Venus, appearing absolutely dazzling at a magnitude of -4.2. Joe Rao, Space.com, "The Moon Has a Close Encounter with Saturn on Tuesday Night," 23 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 There’s a fast-moving heist movie/Alistair MacLean runaway-train thriller that takes up an early chunk of the film, and the nods to classic westerns are everywhere. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Solo’ turns an iconic character’s backstory into a decent B-movie," 22 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about western

Statistics for western

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for western

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for western



English Language Learners Definition of western

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: located in or toward the west

Western : 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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!