[nawr-th ern]
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  1. lying toward or situated in the north.
  2. directed or proceeding northward.
  3. coming from the north, as a wind.
  4. (often initial capital letter) of or relating to the North, especially the northern U.S.
  5. Astronomy. north of the celestial equator or of the zodiac: a northern constellation.
  1. a person living in a northern region or country.
  2. (initial capital letter) a steam locomotive having a four-wheeled front truck, eight driving wheels, and a four-wheeled rear truck.

Origin of northern

before 900; Middle English, Old English; see north, -ern
Related formsnorth·ern·ness, nounpro-North·ern, adjectiveun·north·ern, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for northern

Contemporary Examples of northern

Historical Examples of northern

British Dictionary definitions for northern


  1. situated in or towards the northnorthern towns
  2. directed or proceeding towards the northa northern flow of traffic
  3. (esp of winds) proceeding from the north
  4. (sometimes capital) of, relating to, or characteristic of the north or North
  5. (sometimes capital) astronomy north of the celestial equator
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 northern

Old English norþerna, norðerne "northern, Northumbrian, Scandinavian," cognate with Old High German nordroni, Old Norse norroenn (see north). With -erne, suffix denoting direction. Related: Northernmost. Northerner in U.S. geo-political sense is attested from 1831. Northern lights "aurora borealis" first recorded by that name 1721 (earlier north-light, 1706).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper