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Middle West

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noun

the region of the United States bounded on the W by the Rocky Mountains, on the S by the Ohio River and the S extremities of Missouri and Kansas, and on the E, variously, by the Allegheny Mountains, the E border of Ohio, or the E border of Illinois.

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Also called Midwest.
Middle Westerner, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does Middle West mean?

Middle West is a less common name for the Midwest—the northern central area of the mainland United States.

Generally, the boundaries of the Middle West are Canada to the north, the Rocky Mountains to the west, the southern borders of Missouri and Kansas to the south, and the Allegheny Mountains to the east. Sometimes the Middle West is thought of as extending to the eastern border of Illinois or Ohio.

The Midwest is one of the United States’ four official regions as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Because the Census Bureau doesn’t divide states when defining regions, it sets Ohio as its eastern border. According to the Census, 12 states are located within the Midwest: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

Americans themselves often differ in terms of which states they consider to be in the Midwest. Sometimes, states on the fringes, such as Ohio or North Dakota, aren’t considered to be a part of the Midwest.

Middle Western is an adjective form of Middle West, but Midwestern is much more commonly used. Similarly, someone from the Middle West can be called a Middle Westerner, but Midwesterner is much more common.

Example: I’d love to visit the central United States and see the beautiful scenery of the Middle West.

Where does Middle West come from?

The first records of the term Middle West referring to the northern central area of the United States come from around the 1860s. Although the Midwestern states are really in the northern central area of the country, the word west indicates their position in relation to the East Coast (the location of the original 13 U.S. colonies).

The terms Midwest and Middle West are often used in American media that focuses on geographic areas or that analyzes demographics. Especially during an election season, political analysts speculate and observe how the states in the Midwest are going to vote.

Many parts of the Middle West are rural, but it also has many urban and suburban areas. The region is especially known for having rich farmland.

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How is Middle West used in real life?

Middle West is much less commonly used than Midwest, the word Americans use to refer to the north-central region of the country and the states located there.

 

 

Try using Middle West!

True or False?

The Middle West stretches from the border of Canada to the north to the border of Mexico to the south.

British Dictionary definitions for Middle West

Middle West

noun

another name for the Midwest
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

Cultural definitions for Middle West

Middle West

Area of the northern United States including the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Location of some of the richest farming land in the world; known for its corn, hogs, and dairy and beef cattle.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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