[ awr-ee-en-tl-iz-uh m, ohr- ]
/ ˌɔr iˈɛn tlˌɪz əm, ˌoʊr- /

noun (often lowercase)

a peculiarity or idiosyncrasy of the peoples of Asia, especially the East.
the character or characteristics of the peoples of Asia, especially the East.
the knowledge and study of Asian, especially Eastern languages, literature, etc.

Origin of Orientalism

First recorded in 1760–70; oriental + -ism
Related formsO·ri·en·tal·ist, nounan·ti-O·ri·en·tal·ism, nounan·ti-O·ri·en·tal·ist, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for orientalism

British Dictionary definitions for orientalism


/ (ˌɔːrɪˈɛntəˌlɪzəm) /


knowledge of or devotion to the Orient
an Oriental quality, style, or trait
Derived FormsOrientalist, nounOrientalistic, 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 orientalism



in reference to character, style, trait, or idiom felt to be from the Orient, 1769, from oriental + -ism. Related: Orientalist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper