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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
  • It was an outrage on oriental custom; and as such the narrative sets it before us.

    Modern Skepticism C. J. Ellicott
  • With all his oriental phlegm the man could not keep his countenance.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • It was an oriental ballad all about poniards, flowers, and stars.

    Sentimental Education Vol 1 Gustave Flaubert
  • The last expression, as Beatrice well knew, was an oriental metaphor.

    Earl Hubert's Daughter Emily Sarah Holt
  • This clearly signifies that the Lizard is an oriental migrant.

  • For the prince, the pasha, the courtier, existence was truly an oriental paradise.

    The New World of Islam Lothrop Stoddard
  • Historical incidents occur which show that oriental porcelain was by slow degrees making its way Westwards.

    Chats on Oriental China J. F. Blacker
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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