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[awr-ee-en-tl, ohr‐] /ˌɔr iˈɛn tl, ˌoʊr‐/
(usually initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of the Orient, or East; Eastern.
of the orient, or the eastern region of the world or heavens: oriental countries;
stars in the oriental sky.
(initial capital letter) Zoogeography. belonging to a geographical division comprising southern Asia and the Malay Archipelago as far as and including the Philippines, Borneo, and Java.
  1. (usually initial capital letter) designating various gems that are varieties of corundum:
    Oriental aquamarine; Oriental ruby.
  2. fine or precious; orient:
    oriental agate; oriental garnet.
  3. designating certain natural saltwater pearls found especially in Asia.
(usually initial capital letter) Older Use: Usually Disparaging and Offensive. a native or inhabitant of the Orient, or East.
Origin of oriental
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin orientālis, equivalent to orient- “east, the east” (see orient) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
orientally, adverb
anti-Oriental, adjective, noun
half-oriental, adjective
nonoriental, adjective, noun
pseudooriental, adjective
quasi-oriental, adjective
semioriental, adjective
unoriental, adjective
Can be confused
Asian, Asiatic, Oriental (see usage note at Asian)
Usage note
See Asian. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for oriental
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I was just going down to the oriental, but your dug-out wins me hands down.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Yet they behaved with oriental composure and calmly accepted the inevitable.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • “A lying dog of some sort,” said Mr Vladimir in somewhat oriental phraseology.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Now, God and his father's fate made him intellectually inferior to the oriental.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • The Israelite kissed it thrice with oriental veneration, and replaced it in his breast.

    Leila, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • There was in this man an oriental nobility choked by Western fashion and customs.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • You remember the oriental bloke that always asked, 'Who is she?'

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
British Dictionary definitions for oriental


another word for eastern Compare occidental


(sometimes not capital) of or relating to the Orient
of or denoting a zoogeographical region consisting of southeastern Asia from India to Borneo, Java, and the Philippines
a breed of slender muscular cat with large ears, long legs, and a long tail
(sometimes not capital) an inhabitant, esp a native, of the Orient
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oriental

late 14c., from Old French oriental "eastern, from the east" (12c.) and directly from Latin orientalis "of the east," from orientem (see Orient (n.)). Originally in reference to the sky, geographical sense is attested from late 15c.; oriental carpet first recorded 1868 (in C.Latin Eastlake).



"native or inhabitant of the east," 1701, from oriental (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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