There are 2 main definitions of south in English:

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south 1

Pronunciation: /souTH/


(usually the south)
1The direction toward the point of the horizon 90° clockwise from east, or the point on the horizon itself: the breeze came from the south they trade with the countries to the south
More example sentences
  • However, they did not realise the container was going directly to the south of Ireland, a trip that would normally take 42 hours.
  • She turned to the south, the direction from which the noise had come.
  • Directly to the south is a covered loggia with an outdoor fireplace.
1.1The compass point corresponding to this.
Example sentences
  • For example, if the compass reads south as you face the office's front door, then the back part of the room is the north section, the left is east, and the right is west.
  • The only point left on the compass to follow was south.
  • It points to every direction on the compass: north, south, east and west.
2The southern part of the world or of a specified country, region, or town: he was staying in the south of France
More example sentences
  • Many of the displaced people came from the Gash Barka and Debub regions in the south - the breadbasket of Eritrea.
  • They will visit homes in the south of the town to issue leaflets and offer advice, and will also be on patrol in Knaresborough and Ripon.
  • They seem to turn up in every major town in the south of England.
2.1 (usually the South) The southern states of the US.
3 [as name] (South) Bridge The player sitting opposite and partnering North.
Example sentences
  • South plays a low Diamond which West must win.
  • South plays the winning King of Diamonds, ruffs a Diamond, and plays three rounds of Spades ending in the dummy.


1Lying toward, near, or facing the south: the south coast
More example sentences
  • Epsom and Ewell's historians assume that he would have found it hard to maintain course and so could not land at any of the airfields near the south coast.
  • Last March, near the south coast of England town of Eastbourne, a body washed ashore.
  • Ascot has royalty, Goodwood offers glorious views towards England's south coast, but, for sheer style and panache, Longchamp is peerless.
1.1(Of a wind) blowing from the south.
Example sentences
  • A south wind blew misty rain into his eyes as the gray walls of the city rose before him.
  • These south winds may blow long enough to take a portion of the oil northward and into the current that would carry it along Spain's north coast.
  • And one of the reasons that the water stood up high the last couple of days is we had a pretty strong south wind off the water.
2Of or denoting the southern part of a specified area, city, or country or its inhabitants: Telegraph Hill in South Boston
More example sentences
  • Consequently large areas of west and south Sligo have benefited from a scheme which has especially helped the elderly and the vulnerable.
  • The residents claim it will substantially increase noise pollution in the south Fingal area and interfere with local schools.
  • Ambulance cover is being removed from rural areas of south Wiltshire, leaving many communities at risk, a company boss claimed this week.


1To or toward the south: they journeyed south along the valley it is handily located ten miles south of Baltimore
More example sentences
  • The team however did themselves and their many supporters who made the long trek south proud and they lost nothing in defeat against a well honed local challenge.
  • As I was driving south I saw a sign for Providence Canyon and eventually a sign for Kolomoki Mounds State Park.
  • The plan had been to drive south all morning, stopping off at various orchards and demonstration fields along the way.
2 (south of) Below (a particular amount, cost, etc.): media spending last year was south of $1 million


[no object]
1Move toward the south: the wind southed a point or two
1.1(Of a celestial body) cross the meridian.



down south

informal To or in the south of a country.
Example sentences
  • We have also had a lot of business from down south and some international work, and our cost base is certainly better than anyone in London.
  • The restructuring will result in 90 new jobs in Fife although there will be 200 job losses down south.
  • A waiting list has already been drawn up, with interest coming from down south as well as other parts of the Yorkshire region.

go south

informal, chiefly North American Fall in value, deteriorate, or fail.
Example sentences
  • Throughout my career, the Air Force was trying to help me develop habit patterns that I could fall back on when routine flights went south.
  • At the same time, foreign investors have fallen out of love with equities and overseas markets have gone south.
  • The pact would have worked had the members been willing to cut public expenditure in good times to finance the inevitable budget deficits when business went south.

south by east (or west)

Between south and south-southeast (or south-southwest).
Example sentences
  • The original Malvern house, dating from the seventeenth century, was situated one mile south by east from the Crew house.
  • It therefore very soon starts to bend slightly eastwards running south, south by east, south east by east then south east.
  • From Parkerville the course of the river is south by east, receiving on its way the waters of Haun Creek and Crooked Creek, which enter it from the south and about a mile apart.


Old English sūth, of Germanic origin; related to Low German sud.

  • west from Old English:

    All of the words for compass points are Old English. West can be traced back to an ancient root that also produced Latin vesper ‘evening’, also the source of the church service vespers (Late Middle English), the connection being that the sun sets in the west. Go west, meaning ‘be killed’, comes from the idea of the sun setting in the west at the end of the day, and became common during the First World War. The expression is also used more generally in the sense ‘be lost or broken’, and this is the meaning found in the American equivalent go south. The choice of a different compass point is possibly connected with the idea of something being on a downward trend, or perhaps go west sounded too positive, given the hopeful promise of the American West represented in the exhortation ‘Go west, young man! Go west!’, recorded from 1851. The lawless western frontier of the USA during the period when settlers were migrating from the inhabited east was known as the Wild West from the 1840s, and was the setting for Westerns featuring cowboys, Indians, and cattle rustlers from about 1910. See also twain

Words that rhyme with south

Louth, mouth, mouth-to-mouth

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: south

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There are 2 main definitions of south in English:

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South 2

Pronunciation: /souTH/
(the South)
In the US, a term with several definitions, most commonly the 11 states of the 1861–65 Confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.



Pronunciation: /ˈsəT͟Hərn/
Example sentences
  • She turns on the Southern charm to impress Jim and after a brief moment of shock, he warms up to it.
  • She was a petite red head with a big personality and an even bigger Southern drawl.
  • He stopped scowling, laid on the Southern charm and went for his opponent's jugular on taxes.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: South

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