Middle East

noun
  1. Also called Mideast. (loosely) the area from Libya E to Afghanistan, usually including Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the other countries of the Arabian peninsula.
  2. (formerly) the area including Iran, Afghanistan, India, Tibet, and Burma.
Related formsMiddle Eastern, adjective, nounMiddle Easterner, noun
Can be confusedFar East Middle East Near East
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for middle eastern

Middle Eastern

adjective
  1. of or relating to the Middle East or its inhabitants

Middle East

noun
  1. (loosely) the area around the E Mediterranean, esp Israel and the Arab countries from Turkey to North Africa and eastwards to Iran
  2. (formerly) the area extending from the Tigris and Euphrates to Myanmar
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 middle eastern

Middle East

n.

1899; never defined in a generally accepted way. Early use with reference to British India. Hence Middle-Eastern (1903).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

middle eastern in Culture

Middle East

Region in western Asia and northeast Africa that includes the nations on the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt (see also Egypt), Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

Note

As the site of such ancient civilizations as Phoenicia, Babylon (see also Babylon), and Egypt, and the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Middle East is known as the cradle of Western civilization. The Greek Empire, Roman Empire, Persian Empire, and Ottoman Empire are among the great civilizations that developed and prospered in the Middle East.

Note

A hotbed of religious and political strife (see Arab-Israeli conflict and Persian Gulf War), the Middle East attracted the attention of such powerful nations as Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union eager to protect their strategic interests at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and their access to precious oil reserves.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.