Words related to north

masc. proper name, in Old Testament, Jacob's youngest son (Genesis xxxv.18), from Hebrew Binyamin, literally "son of the south," though interpreted in Genesis as "son of the right hand," from ben "son of" + yamin "right hand," also "south" (in an East-oriented culture). Compare Arabic cognate yaman "right hand, right side, south;" yamana "he was happy," literally "he turned to the right."

The right was regarded as auspicious (see left and dexterity). Also see Yemen, southpaw, and compare deasil "rightwise, turned toward the right," from Gaelic deiseil "toward the south; toward the right," from deas "right, right-hand; south." Also compare Sanskrit dakshina "right; south," and Welsh go-gledd "north," literally "left."

In reference to a favorite younger son it is from the story of Jacob's family in Genesis. With familiar forms Benjy, Benny. Slang meaning "money" (by 1999) is from the portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin on U.S. $100 bill. In some old uses in herb-lore, etc., it is a folk-etymology corruption of benzoin.
Nordic (adj.)

"of or pertaining to the Scandinavian people or their languages or physical type," 1898, from French nordique (in anthropologist Joseph Deniker's system of race classifications), literally "of or pertaining to the north," from nord "north" (a loan-word from Old English; see north). Perhaps influenced by German Nordisch. As a noun, from 1901. Strictly, the blond peoples who inhabit Scandinavia and the north of Britain. As a type of skiing competition, it is attested by 1949.


county in East Anglia, England, late 14c., earlier Norþfolc, Nordfolc, 1066, literally "(Territory of the) Northern People (of the East Angles);" see north + folk (n.). The Norfolk pine (1778), used as an ornamental tree, is from Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, northwest of New Zealand, where it is native.

Norse (n.)

1590s, "a Norwegian," from obsolete Dutch Noorsch (adj.) "Norwegian," a reduced form of noordsch "northern, nordic," from noord "north" (see north). Also in some cases borrowed from cognate Danish or Norwegian norsk. As a language of the north (spoken and written in Norway, Iceland, etc.), from 1680s. Old Norse attested from 1844. An Old English word for "a Norwegian" was Norðman. As an adjective from 1768.

In Old French, Norois as a noun meant "a Norse, Norseman," also "action worth of a man from the North (i.e. usually considered as deceitful)" [Hindley, et. al.]; as an adjective it meant "northern, Norse, Norwegian," also "proud, fierce, fiery, strong."

North Sea 

Middle English North-se, from Old English norþ, norðsæ, usually meaning "the Bristol Channel" (see north + sea). The application to the body of waternow so called, east of England (late 13c.) is from Dutch (Noordzee, Middle Dutch Noortzee); it lies to the north of Holland, where it was contrasted with the inland Zuider Zee, literally "Southern Sea"). To the Danes, it sometimes was Vesterhavet "West Sea." In English, this had been typically called the "German Sea" or "German Ocean," which follows the Roman name for it, Oceanus Germanicus. "German" persisted on some British maps at least into the 1830s. North Sea in Middle English also could mean "the northern portion of the ocean believed to surround the earth" (late 14c.).

north-bound (adj.)

also northbound, "travelling northward," by 1870, from north + bound (adj.2).

northeast (n.)

also north-east, "point or direction midway between north and east," Old English norþ-east; see north + east. As an adjective, "pertaining to or proceeding from or toward the northeast," by 1739. Related: Northeastern "pertaining to or in the direction of the northeast" (late 14c.); northeastward (1550s); northeasterly (1743).

northern (adj.)

"of or pertaining to a region, place, or point nearer the north than some other," Old English norþerna, norðerne "northern, of the north; Northumbrian; Scandinavian," cognate with Old High German nordroni, Old Norse norroenn (see north). With -erne, suffix denoting direction. Related: Northernmost.

Northerner "man from the north of England" is attested from late 13c. as a surname. In the U.S. sense "native or resident of the northern states or territories" it is attested by 1818. Northern lights "aurora borealis" is recorded by that name by 1721 (earlier north-light, 1706).

northland (n.)

"northern part of a country," Old English norþ-lond; see north + land (n.).


Latinized form of the name of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Norðhymbre, which lay north of the river Humber (Latin Humbri fluminis, c. 720), an ancient pre-English river name of unknown origin. It was the leading power of England during part of the 7c. and 8c. Related: Northumbrian. The Northumbrians seem at times to have referred to the Mercians as Southumbrians. The English county name of Northumberland is attested from c. 1200 (North-humbre-lond).