Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Obsolete Northern regions; the north.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The north or northern regions.
  • adj. Of or relating to the north; northern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The north or northern regions.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the north; northern.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. [capitalized] Same as Septentrio.
  • n. The north.
  • Northern; septentrional.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin septentriōnēs, seven plow oxen, the seven principal stars of Ursa Major or Ursa Minor : septem, seven; see septm̥ in Indo-European roots + triōnēs (pl. of triō, triōn-, plow ox; see terə-1 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin septentrio the northern regions, the north, from septentriones the seven stars near the north pole, called Charles's Wain, or the Great Bear, also those called the Little Bear; properly, the seven plow oxen; septem seven + trio, originally a plow ox: compare French septentrion. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sometimes our ancestors called them the Seven Oxen, the "oxen of the celestial pastures," from which the word septentrion (_septem triones_, seven oxen of labor) is derived.

    Astronomy for Amateurs

  • Also in the head of that sea of Galilee, toward the septentrion is a strong castle and an high that hight Saphor.

    The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

  • And Ind is divided in three principal parts; that is, the more that is a full hot country; and Ind the less, that is a full attempre country, that stretcheth to the land of Media; and the three part toward the septentrion is full cold, so that, for pure cold and continual frost, the water becometh crystal.

    The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

  • Au levant, au septentrion et au midi, elle a une grande plaine; au ponant, une montagne au pied de laquelle sont batis les faubourgs.

    The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation

  • From the Latin word _trio_ (ox of labor) has come septentrion, the seven oxen.

    Astronomy for Amateurs

  • [21] The lower septentrion, the seven stars of the Great Bear.

    Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11

  • _septentrion_, where he thought he must find land before or beyond the said place: and thus he intended to repair the ships which were already opening from the past heat, and the supplies, of which he had a large quantity, because of the necessity of taking them to this island and the great difficulty in getting them from Castile, and which were becoming worthless and damaged.

    The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503

  • “cold septentrion blasts,” and which, when it was long after transferred to the theatre by Colman, was unable to endure the rough aspect of a British audience.

    Lives of the English Poets

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