[sey-luh m]
  1. a seaport in NE Massachusetts: founded 1626; execution of persons accused of being witches 1692; home of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  2. a city in and the capital of Oregon, in the NW part, on the Willamette River.
  3. a town in SE New Hampshire.
  4. a town in SW Virginia, near Roanoke.
  5. a city in E Ohio.
  6. a city in central Tamil Nadu, in S India.
  7. an ancient city of Canaan, later identified with Jerusalem. Gen. 14:18; Psalms 76:2.


[awr-i-guh n, ‐gon, or‐]
  1. a state in the NW United States, on the Pacific coast. 96,981 sq. mi. (251,180 sq. km). Capital: Salem. Abbreviation: Oreg., Ore., OR (for use with zip code).
  2. a city in NW Ohio.

Origin of Oregon

First recorded in 1870–75
Related formsOr·e·go·ni·an [awr-i-goh-nee-uh n, or‐] /ˌɔr ɪˈgoʊ ni ən, ˌɒr‐/, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for salem

Contemporary Examples of salem

Historical Examples of salem

British Dictionary definitions for salem


  1. a city in S India, in Tamil Nadu: textile industries. Pop: 693 236 (2001)
  2. a city in NE Massachusetts, on the Atlantic: scene of the execution of 19 people after the witch hunts of 1692. Pop: 42 067 (2003 est)
  3. a city in the NW USA, the state capital of Oregon: food-processing. Pop: 142 914 (2003 est)
  4. an Old Testament name for Jerusalem (Genesis 14:18; Psalms 76:2)See Jerusalem


  1. a state of the northwestern US, on the Pacific: consists of the Coast and Cascade Ranges in the west and a plateau in the east; important timber production. Capital: Salem. Pop: 3 559 596 (2003 est). Area: 251 418 sq km (97 073 sq miles)Abbreviation: Oreg., (with zip code) OR
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 salem


place mentioned in Gen. xiv:18, from Hebrew Shalem, usually said to be another word for Jerusalem and to mean "peace" (cf. Hebrew shalom, Arabic salaam). Common as a Baptist and Methodist meetinghouse name, so much so that by mid-19c. it (along with Bethel and Ebenezer) had come to be used in Britain generically to mean "non-conformist chapel."


1765 as the name of a large river in the west of North America, probably the modern Columbia; of uncertain and disputed origin. It seems to be of Algonquian origin. From 1848 as the name of a U.S. territory (admitted as a state 1859).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

salem in Culture


State in the northwestern United States bordered by Washington to the north, Idaho to the east, Nevada and California to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Its capital is Salem, and its largest city is Portland.


Before the coming of the railroads, the Oregon Trail was used as an overland emigration route from the Missouri River to the Columbia River country (all of which was then called Oregon).
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.