moving, directed, or situated toward the west: the westerly end of the field.
(especially of a wind) coming from the west: a westerly gale.


toward the west: to escape westerly.
from the west: a sharp wind blowing westerly.

noun, plural west·er·lies.

a wind that blows from the west: an occasional westerly that pommeled the island.
westerlies, (used with a plural verb) any semipermanent belt of westerly winds, especially those that prevail at latitudes lying between the tropical and polar regions of the earth.

Nearby words

  1. westenra,
  2. wester,
  3. westergren method,
  4. westering,
  5. westerlies,
  6. westermarck,
  7. westermarck, edward alexander,
  8. western,
  9. western alienation,
  10. western australia

Origin of westerly

1570–80; west + -erly, as in easterly

Related formswest·er·li·ness, noun




a town in SW Rhode Island.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for westerly

British Dictionary definitions for westerly



of, relating to, or situated in the west

adverb, adjective

towards or in the direction of the west
(esp of the wind) from the west

noun plural -lies

a wind blowing from the west
Derived Formswesterliness, noun

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 westerly



late 15c., "in a westerly direction; facing toward the west," from Middle English wester (adj.) "western" (mid-14c.), from Old English westra, variant of westerne (see western) + -ly (2). Cf. Old Norse (adv.). Middle English also had a verb wester "to go west." Related: Westerlies (n.). Somewhat contradictory sense of "coming from the west" attested by 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for westerly



A wind, especially a prevailing wind, that blows from the west. The prevailing winds in the middle latitudes are westerlies. See illustration at wind.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for westerly


See prevailing westerlies.

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.