[ noun, adjective, adverb south; verb south, south ]
See synonyms for south on
  1. a cardinal point of the compass lying directly opposite north. Abbreviation: S

  2. the direction in which this point lies.

  1. (usually initial capital letter) a region or territory situated in this direction.

  2. the South, the general area south of Pennsylvania and the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi, consisting mainly of those states that formed the Confederacy.

  1. lying toward or situated in the south; directed or proceeding toward the south.

  2. coming from the south, as a wind.

  1. to, toward, or in the south.

  2. Informal. into a state of serious decline, loss, or the like: Sales went south during the recession.

verb (used without object)
  1. to turn or move in a southerly direction.

  2. Astronomy. to cross the meridian.

Origin of south

before 900; Middle English suth(e), south(e) (adv., adj., and noun), Old English sūth (adv. and adj.); cognate with Old High German sund- Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for south (1 of 2)


/ (saʊθ) /

  1. one of the four cardinal points of the compass, at 180° from north and 90° clockwise from east and anticlockwise from west

  2. the direction along a meridian towards the South Pole

  1. the south (often capital) any area lying in or towards the south: Related adjectives: meridional, austral

  2. (usually capital) cards the player or position at the table corresponding to south on the compass

  1. situated in, moving towards, or facing the south

  2. (esp of the wind) from the south

  1. in, to, or towards the south

  2. archaic (of the wind) from the south

Origin of south

Old English sūth; related to Old Norse suthr southward, Old High German sundan from the south
  • Symbol: S

British Dictionary definitions for South (2 of 2)


/ (saʊθ) /

nounthe South
  1. the southern part of England, generally regarded as lying to the south of an imaginary line between the Wash and the Severn

  2. (in the US)

    • the area approximately south of Pennsylvania and the Ohio River, esp those states south of the Mason-Dixon line that formed the Confederacy during the Civil War

    • the Confederacy itself

  1. the countries of the world that are not economically and technically advanced

    • of or denoting the southern part of a specified country, area, etc

    • (capital as part of a name): the South Pacific

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with south


see go south.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.