See more synonyms for western on Thesaurus.com
  1. lying toward or situated in the west: our company's western office.
  2. directed or proceeding toward the west: a western migration.
  3. coming or originating from the west, as a wind.
  4. (often initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, living in, or characteristic of the West, especially the western U.S.: a Western ranch.
  5. (usually initial capital letter) Occidental: to adopt Western dress.
  6. (usually initial capital letter) of or relating to the non-Communist countries of Europe and the Americas: Western trade agreements.
  7. (initial capital letter) of or relating to the Western Church.
  1. (often initial capital letter) a story, movie, or radio or television play about the U.S. West of the 19th century.
  2. western sandwich.
  3. a person or thing from a western region or country.

Origin of western

before 1050; 1905–10 for def 8; Middle English, Old English westerne, equivalent to west west + -erne -ern
Related formsan·ti-West·ern, adjectivenon·west·ern, adjective, nounpro-West·ern, adjectiveun·west·ern, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for western

westerly, westward, westbound, westernmost

Examples from the Web for western

Contemporary Examples of western

Historical Examples of western

  • How's it come you didn't have a Western Union frank this year?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He had a large family at home waiting his return from a Western journey.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • In truth, it's amazing to take count of the Western men among us in all the professions.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • President Harding had died while traveling in the western States.

  • When Mrs. Western retired to her room for the night, it was not to sleep.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

British Dictionary definitions for western


  1. situated in or towards or facing the west
  2. going or directed to or towards the west
  3. (of a wind, etc) coming or originating from the west
  4. native to, inhabiting, or growing in the west
  5. music See country and western


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the West as opposed to the Orient
  2. (formerly) of, relating to, or characteristic of the Americas and the parts of Europe not under Communist rule
  3. of, relating to, or characteristic of the western states of the US
  1. a film, book, etc, concerned with life in the western states of the US, esp during the era of exploration and early development
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 western

"toward or of the west," Old English westerne (see west) + -erne, suffix denoting direction. The noun meaning "book or movie about the Old West" is first attested 1909.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper