Meaning of “western” in the English Dictionary

"western" in British English

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also Western uk /ˈwes.tən/ us /ˈwes.tɚn/

western adjective (DIRECTION)

B1 written abbreviation W in or from the west of a place:

western Europe
California and other western states

More examples

  • In the 1800s, thousands of homesteaders settled on the prairies of the western US.
  • The Rockies are a mountain range in the western USA.
  • In western Europe, a seven- to eight-hour working day is about the average.
  • The western edge of the desert is home to many rare species of plants.
  • He was an officer on the western front.

western adjective (COUNTRIES)

B1 relating to countries in the west part of the world, especially North America and countries in the west of Europe:

a Western-educated engineer
western medicine

More examples

  • The book discusses the impact of Christian thinking on western society.
  • His work explores the influence of Chinese philosophy on western thought.
  • Western culture is viewed with suspicion in parts of Asia.
  • Parts of the country are beginning to embrace western culture.
  • He argued that many western values were antithetical to the teachings of Islam.

westernnoun [ C ]

also Western uk /ˈwes.tən/ us /ˈwes.tɚn/ UK also cowboy film, US also cowboy movie

a film based on stories about life in the west of the US in the past


  • John Ford's westerns celebrated the grandeur of the American landscape.
  • Westerns often deal with the conflict between outlaws and the defenders of law and order.
  • Most westerns are set in the late 1800s.
  • The cinema is showing a season of westerns next month.
  • The western is his favourite movie genre.

(Definition of “western” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"western" in American English

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westernnoun [ C ]

us /ˈwes·tərn/

a movie based on stories about life in the part of the US west of the Mississippi River when white people began going there to live in the 19th century

westernadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈwes·tərn/ abbreviation W.

lying toward, facing, or coming from the west:

Grand Rapids is in the western part of Michigan.

(Definition of “western” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)