na·​vel ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio)
: a depression in the middle of the abdomen that marks the point of former attachment of the umbilical cord or yolk stalk
: the central point : middle
In Delphi's golden age, when the ancients held it to be the navel of the worldHenry Kamm

Example Sentences

a city that likes to regard itself as the nation's navel of art and culture
Recent Examples on the Web Pollywogs were instructed to crawl up to him and eat the cherry from his navel as the final step in the initiation. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 25 Jan. 2023 Ratajkowski, who was photographed in New York City this week, sported a navel-baring ensemble that mirrored one Hadid wore last March. Alex Kessler, Glamour, 5 Jan. 2023 More than 30 staples held his torso together, from the bottom of his breastbone to below his navel., 15 Dec. 2022 The slinky garment featured a hooded head covering that swooped down into a plunging neckline and tied into a knot by her navel, with the excess fabric hanging down by her left side. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 6 Dec. 2022 But in 2022, the navel-gazing reached new levels of meta pastiche. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 23 Dec. 2022 In the United States, navel-gazing about football and violence is nothing new. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 9 Jan. 2023 But upon multiple rewatches, I’ve been intrigued by how scathing the movie is about contemporary pop culture’s eternal navel-gazing. David Sims, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2022 This is 100 times better than virtually every other navel-gazing science journalism post. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 8 Apr. 2012 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'navel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English nafela; akin to Old High German nabalo navel, Latin umbilicus, Greek omphalos

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near navel

Cite this Entry

“Navel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


na·​vel ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio)
: a hollowed out place on the outside wall of the middle of the abdomen marking the point of attachment of the umbilical cord

Medical Definition


na·​vel ˈnā-vəl How to pronounce navel (audio)
: a depression in the middle of the abdomen that marks the point of former attachment of the umbilical cord to the embryo

called also umbilicus

More from Merriam-Webster on navel

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