[ 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

Can be confused

Asian Asiatic Oriental (see usage note at Asian)

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for oriental

  • Red porphyry--verde antique--jasper--oriental agate--alabaster--mother-of-pearl--chalcedony--red coral--lapis lazuli!

    The Innocents Abroad|Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • But you has 'em shipped by freight, an' aims to spend a dollar an' thirty cents each on 'em, by markin' 'em 'Oriental Goods.'

    Captain Scraggs|Peter B. Kyne
  • His features and air are not so much Roman as oriental--thine are purely Roman.

    Zenobia|William Ware
  • The 'Oriental' has twenty-two spirited engravings of 'Scenes in India,' many of which are very superior.

British Dictionary definitions for oriental (1 of 2)


/ (ˌɔːrɪˈɛntəl) /


another word for eastern Compare occidental

British Dictionary definitions for oriental (2 of 2)


/ (ˌɔːrɪˈɛntəl) /


(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