Etymology
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west 

Old English west (adv.) "in or toward the west, in a westerly direction," from Proto-Germanic *west- (source also of Old Norse vestr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch west, Old High German -west, only in compounds, German west), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps from PIE *wes-, reduced form of *wes-pero- "evening, night" (source also of Greek hesperos, Latin vesper "evening, west;" see vesper). Compare also High German dialectal abend "west," literally "evening." French ouest, Spanish oeste are from English.

As an adjective from late 14c.; as a noun from late 12c. West used in geopolitical sense from World War I (Britain, France, Italy, as opposed to Germany and Austria-Hungary); as contrast to Communist Russia (later to the Soviet bloc) it is first recorded in 1918. West Coast of the U.S. is from 1850; West End of London is from 1776; West Side of Manhattan is from, 1858. The U.S. West "western states and territories" originally (1790s) meant those just west of the Alleghenies; the sense gradually extended as the country grew. To go west "die" was "common during the Great War" [OED, 2nd ed.], perhaps from Celtic imagery or from the notion of the setting sun. In U.S. use, in a literal sense "emigrate to the western states or territories," from 1830.

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westerlies (n.)
prevailing winds in certain latitudes, 1876, from westerly (see west).
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westward (adv.)
"toward the west," Old English westweard; see west + -ward.
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Mae West 
type of inflatable life jacket, 1940, military slang, in reference to the screen name of the buxom U.S. film star (1892-1980).
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West Indies 
Caribbean islands explored by Columbus, 1550s, reflecting the belief (or hope) that they were western outliers of the Indies of Asia. Related: West Indian, which is from 1580s in reference to the native inhabitants, 1650s in reference to European settlers there, and 1928 in reference to people of West Indian ancestry.
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wester (v.)
"to go west, travel westward," late 14c., from west (adv.), and compare westerly. Related: Westered; westering.
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go west (v.)
19c. British idiom for "die, be killed" (popularized during World War I), "probably from thieves' slang, wherein to go west meant to go to Tyburn, hence to be hanged, though the phrase has indubitably been influenced by the setting of the sun in the west" [Partridge]. Compare go south.
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West Bank 
in reference to the former Jordanian territory west of the River Jordan, 1967.
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Wessex 
Anglo-Saxon kingdom in southern England, literally "(land of the) West Saxons;" see west + Saxon. Modern use in reference to southwestern England (excluding Cornwall) is from Hardy's novels.
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southwest (adv.)
Old English suð-west; see south + west. As a noun from early 12c. Related: Southwester; southwesterly.
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