adjective, often capitalized
oc·​ci·​den·​tal | \ ˌäk-sə-ˈden-tᵊl How to pronounce occidental (audio) \

Definition of occidental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or situated in the Occident : western
2 : of or relating to Occidentals



Definition of Occidental (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of one of the occidental peoples especially : a person of European ancestry

Other Words from occidental


occidentally adverb

The Latin Origins of Oriental and Occidental

The word oriental derives from the Latin orient-, oriens, meaning "the east" or "the part of the sky where the sun rises." Occidental, in contrast, derives from the Latin occident-, occidens, meaning "the west" or "the part of the sky where the sun sets." The geographical regions known as "the Orient" and "the Occident" are named for their positions relative to one another—east and west, respectively.

Examples of occidental in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Its bad guys are clearly the sadistic British imperialists, easily read as occidental occupiers who must be overthrown as well as stand-ins for a host of other IRL colonial powers on other continents, in other centuries. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 June 2022 So what happened to those occidental Celts in those four hundred years? Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, 7 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'occidental.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of occidental


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1538, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for occidental


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin occidentālis, from occident-, occidens occident + -ālis -al entry 1


borrowed from Medieval Latin occidentālis, noun derivative of Latin occidentālis, adjective, occidental

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The first known use of occidental was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Occidental.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occidental. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on occidental

Nglish: Translation of occidental for Spanish Speakers


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