[ awr-ee-en-tl, ohr‐ ]

  1. (usually initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of the Orient, or East, typically East Asia; Eastern.

  2. of the orient, or the eastern region of the world or heavens: oriental countries;stars in the oriental sky.

  1. (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.

  2. Jewelry.

    • (usually initial capital letter) designating various gems that are varieties of corundum: Oriental aquamarine; Oriental ruby.

    • fine or precious; orient: oriental agate; oriental garnet.

    • 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

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin orientālis, equivalent to orient- “east, the east” + -ālis adjective suffix; see orient, -al1

usage note For oriental

Is it Asian, Asiatic, or Oriental? See Asian.

Other words from oriental

  • o·ri·en·tal·ly, adverb
  • an·ti-O·ri·en·tal, adjective, noun
  • half-o·ri·en·tal, adjective
  • non·o·ri·en·tal, adjective, noun
  • pseu·do·o·ri·en·tal, adjective
  • qua·si-o·ri·en·tal, adjective
  • sem·i·o·ri·en·tal, adjective
  • un·o·ri·en·tal, adjective

Words that may be confused with oriental

Words Nearby oriental

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use oriental in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for oriental (1 of 2)


/ (ˌɔːrɪˈɛntəl) /

  1. another word for eastern Compare occidental

British Dictionary definitions for Oriental (2 of 2)


/ (ˌɔːrɪˈɛntəl) /

  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

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