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ˈā-zhən How to pronounce Asian (audio)
 also  -shən
: of, relating to, or characteristic of the continent of Asia or its people
Asian vs. Asiatic: Usage Guide

Asian is now solidly preferred to Asiatic; the latter persists mainly in the names of some kinds of flora and fauna.

an Asiatic lily
the Asiatic elephant

Asiatic still has some use as a geographical designator

the Asiatic side of the Bosporus

but has increasingly been considered offensive, especially as associated with the policies of colonialism.


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: a native or inhabitant of Asia
: a person of Asian descent

Examples of Asian in a Sentence

Noun There are many Asians living in South America.
Recent Examples on the Web
This will be the third location for Southeast Asian restaurant Komodo — after Miami and Dallas. Melinda Sheckells, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Sep. 2023 This week, Biden will also become the first U.S. president to meet together with leaders of the five Central Asian countries, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. John Hudson, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 The Pope was bringing the priest back from the margins, and joining his own Asian journey to Teilhard’s. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 Lucky Cat Gordon Ramsay serves his interpretation of Asian cuisine at two different locations in London and Manchester, England. Sam Burros, Peoplemag, 17 Sep. 2023 Black, Latino and Asian immigrants are more likely than white immigrants to report unfair treatment at work, such as being paid less than others for the same work or having fewer opportunities for advancement, the survey found. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 Chinese agents also seek more details on the growing military cooperation between the United States and Asian allies. Edward Wong, New York Times, 17 Sep. 2023 The First Congressional District, which includes the eastern half of the state, is 62 percent white, 21 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Black, and 4 percent Asian, according to Census Reporter, which uses US census data. Globe Staff,, 6 Sep. 2023 Remember, Asian lady beetles are our friends, so do not reach for an insecticide in order to rid your home of this harmless nuisance. Patricia S York, Southern Living, 6 Sep. 2023
Sakshi Venkatraman Sakshi Venkatraman is a reporter for NBC Asian America. Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, 7 Sep. 2023 Prevent Asian Lady Bugs From Entering Your Home One way to prevent these little crawlers from entering your home is to make sure all the openings and cracks near your doors and windows are sealed. Patricia S York, Southern Living, 6 Sep. 2023 The practice of brownface—a close cousin of yellowface that involved a white actor darkening their skin through mounds of makeup to cosplay as South Asian—was a routine charade for many white actors. Hazlitt, 6 Sep. 2023 Chan shared video of the Chinatown attack in an effort to raise awareness of hate crimes against Asian Americans, which surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Carlos De Loera, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2023 At the Asian Film Awards in March, where his wife Carina Lau presented him an award for his contribution to Asian cinema, Leung was similarly sheepish, not expansive. Patrick Frater, Variety, 2 Sep. 2023 White people made up 33 percent of Friday ticket buyers, followed by Black people (31 percent), Latin people (20 percent) and Asian/Other people (15 percent). Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Sep. 2023 Increasingly, the government’s powers are wielded en masse, said Ashraf Zaman, a Bangladeshi lawyer and activist in exile who works with the Asian Human Rights Commission. Mujib Mashal Atul Loke, New York Times, 2 Sep. 2023 The Cleveland Metroparks has updated its bear necessities with a new habitat for its Andean and sloth bears, debuting the space to visitors on Friday after a tumultuous week of weather that forced the zoo to shut down events like the Asian Lantern Festival. Zachary Smith, cleveland, 25 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Asian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1550, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Asian was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near Asian

Cite this Entry

“Asian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of, relating to, or characteristic of Asia or its people
Asian noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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