• synonyms


[sou-th ing]
  1. Astronomy.
    1. the transit of a heavenly body across the celestial meridian.
    2. south declination.
  2. movement or deviation toward the south.
  3. distance due south made by a vessel.
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Origin of southing

First recorded in 1650–60; south + -ing1


[noun, adjective, adverb south; verb south, south]
  1. a cardinal point of the compass lying directly opposite north. Abbreviation: S
  2. the direction in which this point lies.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) a region or territory situated in this direction.
  4. 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.
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  1. lying toward or situated in the south; directed or proceeding toward the south.
  2. coming from the south, as a wind.
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  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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to turn or move in a southerly direction.
  2. Astronomy. to cross the meridian.
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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-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for southing

Historical Examples of southing

  • What southing do you allow our drift will be giving us, captain?

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

  • I made what southing I could; but, all that time, we were beset by it.

  • I remember once, she was down on Central Avenue with Ross and he did southing or other that, wasn't nice.

  • There was enough of southing in the wind, to make his last course nearly due south.

    Jack Tier or The Florida Reef

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • After the gale blew itself out, a fresh breeze succeeded, which enabled them rapidly to run down their southing.

British Dictionary definitions for southing


  1. nautical movement, deviation, or distance covered in a southerly direction
  2. astronomy a south or negative declination
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  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
  3. the south (often capital) any area lying in or towards the southRelated adjectives: meridional, austral
  4. (usually capital) cards the player or position at the table corresponding to south on the compass
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  1. situated in, moving towards, or facing the south
  2. (esp of the wind) from the south
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  1. in, to, or towards the south
  2. archaic (of the wind) from the south
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Symbol: S

Word Origin for south

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


noun the 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)
    1. 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
    2. the Confederacy itself
  3. the countries of the world that are not economically and technically advanced
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    1. of or denoting the southern part of a specified country, area, etc
    2. (capital as part of a name)the South Pacific
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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 southing



Old English suð "southward, to the south, southern, in the south," from Proto-Germanic *sunthaz, perhaps literally "sun-side" (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian suth "southward, in the south," Middle Dutch suut, Dutch zuid, German Süden), and related to base of *sunnon "sun" (see sun (v.)). Old French sur, sud (French sud), Spanish sur, sud are loan-words from Germanic, perhaps from Old Norse suðr.

As an adjective from c.1300; as a noun, "one of the four cardinal points," also "southern region of a country," both late 13c. The Southern states of the U.S. have been collectively called The South since 1779 (in early use this often referred only to Georgia and South Carolina). South country in Britain means the part below the Tweed, in England the part below the Wash, and in Scotland the part below the Forth. South Sea meant "the Mediterranean" (late 14c.) and "the English Channel" (early 15c.) before it came to mean (in plural) "the South Pacific Ocean" (1520s). The nautical coat called a sou'wester (1836) protects the wearer against severe weather, such as a gale out of the southwest.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with southing


see go south.

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