to, toward, or in the east: an island located east of Sumatra; He went east.

Origin of east

before 900; Middle English est, Old English ēast; cognate with German ost, Old Norse austr; akin to Latin aurōra, Greek aúōs (dialectal variant of ēṓs, héōs) dawn. See Easter
Related formseast·ness, noun


or east.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for east

oriental, eastern, gerontogeous

Examples from the Web for east

Contemporary Examples of east

Historical Examples of east

  • I see some man in the East has a fad for breaking the ice in the river and going swimming.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The West and the East were met in conflict,—the old and the new, the stale and the fresh.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Camped on east side of the sand-hills, with first-rate feed for the horses.

  • To the east, plains for at least thirty miles, when broken ranges were visible.

  • Ascended the Frere Ranges and got a fine view to the north and east.

British Dictionary definitions for east



one of the four cardinal points of the compass, 90° clockwise from north and 180° from west
the direction along a parallel towards the sunrise, at 90° to north; the direction of the earth's rotation
the east (often capital) any area lying in or towards the eastRelated adjective: oriental
cards (usually capital) the player or position at the table corresponding to east on the compass


situated in, moving towards, or facing the east
(esp of the wind) from the east


in, to, or towards the east
archaic (of the wind) from the east
Symbol: E

Word Origin for east

Old English ēast; related to Old High German ōstar to the east, Old Norse austr, Latin aurora dawn, Greek eōs, Sanskrit usās dawn, morning


noun the East

the continent of Asia regarded as culturally distinct from Europe and the West; the Orient
the countries under Communist rule and formerly under Communist rule, lying mainly in the E hemisphereCompare West (def. 2)
(in the US)
  1. the area north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi
  2. the area north of Maryland and east of the Alleghenies


  1. of or denoting the eastern part of a specified country, area, etc
  2. (as part of a name)East Sussex
Derived FormsEastern, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for east

Old English east "east, easterly, eastward," from Proto-Germanic *aus-to-, *austra- "east, toward the sunrise" (cf. Old Frisian ast "east," aster "eastward," Dutch oost Old Saxon ost, Old High German ostan, German Ost, Old Norse austr "from the east"), from PIE *aus- "to shine," especially "dawn" (cf. Sanskrit ushas "dawn;" Greek aurion "morning;" Old Irish usah, Lithuanian auszra "dawn;" Latin aurora "dawn," auster "south"), literally "to shine." The east is the direction in which dawn breaks. For theory of shift in sense in Latin, see Australia.

Meaning "the eastern part of the world" (from Europe) is from c.1300. French est, Spanish este are borrowings from Middle English, originally nautical. The east wind in Biblical Palestine was scorching and destructive (cf. Ezek. xvii:10); in New England it is bleak, wet, unhealthful.

Cold War use of East for "communist states" first recorded 1951. Natives of eastern Germany and the Baltics were known as easterlings 16c.-18c. East End of London so called by 1846; East Side of Manhattan so called from 1882; East Indies (India and Southeast Asia) so called 1590s to distinguish them from the West Indies.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper