[awr-ee-en-tl, ohr‐]
  1. (usually initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of the Orient, or East; Eastern.
  2. of the orient, or the eastern region of the world or heavens: oriental countries;stars in the oriental sky.
  3. (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.
  4. Jewelry.
    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.
  1. (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 formso·ri·en·tal·ly, adverban·ti-O·ri·en·tal, adjective, nounhalf-o·ri·en·tal, adjectivenon·o·ri·en·tal, adjective, nounpseu·do·o·ri·en·tal, adjectivequa·si-o·ri·en·tal, adjectivesem·i·o·ri·en·tal, adjectiveun·o·ri·en·tal, adjective
Can be confusedAsian Asiatic Oriental (see usage note at Asian)

Usage note

See Asian.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for non-oriental


  1. (sometimes not capital) of or relating to the Orient
  2. of or denoting a zoogeographical region consisting of southeastern Asia from India to Borneo, Java, and the Philippines
  1. a breed of slender muscular cat with large ears, long legs, and a long tail
  2. (sometimes not capital) an inhabitant, esp a native, of the Orient


  1. another word for eastern Compare occidental
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 non-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