[ nee-nyah ]
/ ˈni nyɑ /

noun, plural ni·ñas [nee-nyahs] /ˈni nyɑs/. Spanish.

girl; child.


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Definition for niña (2 of 3)

[ neen-yuh, nee-nuh; Spanish nee-nyah ]
/ ˈnin yə, ˈni nə; Spanish ˈni nyɑ /


one of the three ships under the command of Columbus when he made his first voyage of discovery to America in 1492.

Definition for niña (3 of 3)

La Niña
[ lah nee-nyah ]
/ lɑ ˈni nyɑ /


a cool ocean current that develops off the coast of Ecuador and Peru, sometimes following an El Niño but causing nearly the opposite extreme weather conditions.

Origin of La Niña

1985–90; < Spanish: literally, the female child; patterned after El Niño Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for niña (1 of 2)

/ (ˈniːnə, Spanish ˈniɲa) /


the Niña one of the three ships commanded by Columbus in 1492

British Dictionary definitions for niña (2 of 2)

La Niña
/ (læ ˈniːnjə) /


meteorol a cooling of the eastern tropical Pacific, occurring in certain years

Word Origin for La Niña

C20: from Spanish: The Little Girl, to distinguish it from El Niño
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

Scientific definitions for niña

La Niña
[ lä nēnyä ]

A cooling of the surface water of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, occurring somewhat less frequently than El Niño events but causing similar, generally opposite disruptions to global weather patterns. La Niña conditions occur when the Pacific trade winds blow more strongly than usual, pushing the sun-warmed surface water farther west and increasing the upwelling of cold water in the eastern regions. Together with the atmospheric effects of the related southern oscillation, the cooler water brings drought to western South America and heavy rains to eastern Australia and Indonesia. Compare El Niño.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.