See more synonyms for west on Thesaurus.com
  1. a cardinal point of the compass, 90° to the left when facing north, corresponding to the point where the sun is seen to set. Abbreviation: W
  2. the direction in which this point lies.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) a region or territory situated in this direction, especially the western part of the U.S., as distinguished from the East: a vacation trip through the West.
  4. (initial capital letter) the western part of the world, as distinguished from the East or Orient; the Occident.
  5. (initial capital letter) the non-Communist countries of Western Europe and the Americas.
  1. directed or proceeding toward the west.
  2. coming from the west: a west wind.
  3. lying toward or situated in the west.
  4. Ecclesiastical. designating, lying toward, or in that part of a church opposite to and farthest from the altar.
  1. to, toward, or in the west: The car headed west.
  2. from the west: The wind blew west.
  1. go west, Informal. to die.

Origin of west

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch, German west, Old Norse vestr; compare French ouest, Old French < Old English
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for go west


  1. one of the four cardinal points of the compass, 270° clockwise from north and 180° from east
  2. the direction along a parallel towards the sunset, at 270° clockwise from north
  3. the west (often capital) any area lying in or towards the westRelated adjectives: Hesperian, Occidental
  4. cards (usually capital) the player or position at the table corresponding to west on the compass
  1. situated in, moving towards, or facing the west
  2. (esp of the wind) from the west
  1. in, to, or towards the west
  2. archaic (of the wind) from the west
  3. go west informal
    1. to be lost or destroyed irrevocably
    2. to die
Symbol: W

Word Origin for west

Old English; related to Old Norse vestr, Sanskrit avástāt, Latin vesper evening, Greek hésperos


noun the West
  1. the western part of the world contrasted historically and culturally with the East or Orient; the Occident
  2. (formerly) the non-Communist countries of Europe and America contrasted with the Communist states of the EastCompare East (def. 2)
  3. (in the US)
    1. that part of the US lying approximately to the west of the Mississippi
    2. (during the Colonial period) the region outside the 13 colonies, lying mainly to the west of the Alleghenies
  4. (in the ancient and medieval world) the Western Roman Empire and, later, the Holy Roman Empire
    1. of or denoting the western part of a specified country, area, etc
    2. (as part of a name)the West Coast


  1. Benjamin. 1738–1820, US painter, in England from 1763
  2. Kanye, born 1977, US rap singer and producer; his albums include The College Dropout (2004) and Graduation (2007)
  3. Mae. 1892–1980, US film actress
  4. Nathanael, real name Nathan Weinstein. 1903–40, US novelist: author of Miss Lonely-Hearts (1933) and The Day of the Locust (1939)
  5. Dame Rebecca, real name Cicily Isabel Andrews (née Fairfield). 1892–1983, British journalist, novelist, and critic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for go west

19c. British idiom for "die, be killed" (popularized during World War I), "probably from thieves' slang, wherein to go west meant to go to Tyburn, hence to be hanged, though the phrase has indubitably been influenced by the setting of the sun in the west." [Partridge]


Old English west "in or toward the west," from Proto-Germanic *wes-t- (cf. Old Norse vestr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch west, Old High German -west, only in compounds, German west), from PIE *wes- (source of Greek hesperos, Latin vesper "evening, west"), perhaps an enlarged form of root *we- "to go down" (cf. Sanskrit avah "downward"), and thus literally "direction in which the sun sets." Cf. also High German dialectal abend "west," literally "evening."

French ouest, Spanish oeste are from English. West used in geopolitical sense from World War I (Britain, France, Italy, as opposed to Germany and Austria-Hungary); as contrast to Communist Russia (later to the Soviet bloc) it is first recorded in 1918. West Indies is recorded from 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with go west

go west

Die, as in He declared he wasn't ready to go west just yet. This expression has been ascribed to a Native American legend that a dying man goes to meet the setting sun. However, it was first recorded in a poem of the early 1300s: “Women and many a willful man, As wind and water have gone west.”


see go west.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.