[nawrth-west; Nautical nawr-west]
  1. a point on the compass midway between north and west. Abbreviation: NW
  2. a region in this direction.
  3. the Northwest,
    1. the northwestern part of the United States, especially Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
    2. the northwestern part of the United States when its western boundary was the Mississippi River.
    3. the northwestern part of Canada.
  1. Also north·west·ern. coming from the northwest: a northwest wind.
  2. directed toward the northwest: sailing a northwest course.
  1. from the northwest.
  2. toward the northwest: sailing northwest.

Origin of northwest

before 900; Middle English, Old English; see north, west Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for northwest

Contemporary Examples of northwest

Historical Examples of northwest

British Dictionary definitions for northwest


  1. the point of the compass or direction midway between north and west, 315° clockwise from north
  2. the northwest (often capital) any area lying in or towards this direction
adjective Also: northwestern
  1. (sometimes capital) of or denoting the northwestern part of a specified country, area, etcnorthwest Greenland
adjective, adverb
  1. in, to, towards, or (esp of the wind) from the northwest
Symbol: NW
Derived Formsnorthwesternmost, adjective


noun the Northwest
  1. the northwestern part of England, esp Lancashire and the Lake District
  2. the northwestern part of the US, consisting of the states of Washington, Oregon, and sometimes Idaho
  3. (in Canada) the region north and west of the Great Lakes
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 northwest

Old English norðwest (adv.); from north + west. As a noun from late 14c. Related: Northwestern; northwesterly; northwestward. Northwest Passage first attested c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper