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From Middle English northerne, from Old English norþerne, from Proto-West Germanic *norþrōnī, from Proto-Germanic *nurþrōnijaz. Cognate with Old High German nordrōni and Old Norse norrœnn.

Morphologically north +‎ -ern.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈnɔːðən/, /ˈnɔːðn̩/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈnɔɹðɚn/, enPR: nôr′thərn
  • (non-standard) IPA(key): /ˈnɒðə(ɹ)n/
  • (file)


northern (comparative more northern, superlative most northern)

  1. Of, facing, situated in, or related to the north; northerly.
    • 2013 June 29, “High and wet”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 28:
      Floods in northern India, mostly in the small state of Uttarakhand, have wrought disaster on an enormous scale. The early, intense onset of the monsoon on June 14th swelled rivers, washing away roads, bridges, hotels and even whole villages.
  2. (of a wind) Blowing from the north; northerly.
  3. (British) Characteristic of the North of England (usually capitalised)
    Les Dawson was a famous northern comedian.



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northern (plural northerns)

  1. An inhabitant of the northern regions.
  2. (fishing) The northern pike.
    • 1993, Barry Reynolds, John Berryman, Pike on the Fly: The Flyfishing Guide to Northerns, Tigers, and Muskies:
      As is the case with northerns, the female muskie, trailed by her attendant males, may broadcast eggs over several hundred yards.
  3. A film or other dramatic work set primarily in the late 19th or early 20th century in the north of North America, primarily in western Canada but also in Alaska, often with a Mountie as the protagonist.
    Coordinate terms: northwestern, western