1. The point in the heavens where the sun is seen to set at the equinox; or, the corresponding point on the earth; that one of the four cardinal points of the compass which is in a direction at right angles to that of north and south, and on the left hand of a person facing north; the point directly opposite to east. "And fresh from the west is the free wind's breath." (Bryant)
Formerly, that part of the United States west of the Alleghany mountains; now, commonly, the whole region west of the Mississippi river; especially, that part which is north of the Indian Territory, new Mexico, etc. Usually with the definite article. West by north, West by south, according to the notation of the mariner's compass, that point which lies 11 1/4 deg to the north or south, respectively, of the point due west. West northwest, West southwest, that point which lies 22 1/2 deg to the north or south of west, or halfway between west and northwest or southwest, respectively.
Origin: AS. West, adv.; akin to D. West, G. West, westen, OHG. Westan, Icel. Vestr, Sw. Vest, vester, vestan, Dan. Vest, vesten, and perhaps to L. Vesper evening, Gr. . Cf. Vesper, Visigoth.
(01 Mar 1998)
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