ori·​en·​tal | \ ˌȯr-ē-ˈen-tᵊl How to pronounce oriental (audio) \

Definition of oriental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or Oriental : of, relating to, or situated in the orient
2 or Oriental : of, relating to, or coming from Asia and especially eastern Asia oriental food oriental art now usually considered offensive when used to describe a person
3 Oriental : of, relating to, or constituting the biogeographic region that includes Asia south and southeast of the Himalayas and the Malay Archipelago west of Wallace's line
4a : of superior grade, luster, or value
b : being corundum or sapphire but simulating another gem in color



Definition of Oriental (Entry 2 of 2)

1 dated, now usually offensive : asian especially : one who is a native of east Asia or is of east Asian descent

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Other Words from oriental


orientally \ ˌȯr-​ē-​ˈen-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce orientally (audio) \ adverb

Examples of oriental in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

His displays include dahlias, cannas, calla lilies, oriental lilies, day lilies, hydrangeas, climbing hydrangeas, rhododendrons, pink, white, purple, roses, peonies, rudbeckias, coneflowers, clematis, lupines and many others. courant.com, "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 15 June 2019 Those would be chypre, oriental, woody and oud, according to Brigitte Wormser, VP of Creation & Marketing at Atkinsons 1799. Lauren Valenti, Marie Claire, "Can Fragrance Go Bad? Here's How to Tell If You Need to Toss Yours," 7 Aug. 2015 Prerogative is described as oriental and woody, with notes of pink pepper, red goji berries, and apricot nectar upon first spritz. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Britney Spears Is Launching a A Unisex Fragrance Called Prerogative," 17 July 2018 The adjacent smoking room is a true oriental oasis with mutli coloured plaster Arab inspired carvings replicating palm trees with clusters of dates. Houston Chronicle, "City pool opens for summer; extensive renovations complete," 26 May 2018 Above it, an oriental painting of white birds in a forested area adds a peaceful aura. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Blast from the past: This Glenmary home is a collector's paradise," 28 June 2018 Visitors can go inside the small greenhouse, where a display in late spring featured oriental lilies. Hattie Bernstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Cool down this summer in these magical gardens," 5 July 2018 This grilled bok choy salad embodies your favorite sweet and savory oriental flavors – without the grease of typical takeout dishes. Danielle Page, USA TODAY, "Inventive summer salads for a fresh take on dinner," 2 July 2018 In fact, the model apartment for the hotel was this Baroque, oriental extravaganza. Carson Bear, USA TODAY, "D.C.'s Watergate building: America’s most infamous address," 31 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of oriental


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for oriental

Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for oriental

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

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English Language Learners Definition of oriental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

old-fashioned : of, relating to, or from Asia and especially eastern Asia



English Language Learners Definition of Oriental (Entry 2 of 2)

old-fashioned + offensive : a person from eastern Asia


adjective, often capitalized
ori·​en·​tal | \ ˌōr-ē-ˈen-tᵊl How to pronounce oriental (audio) \

Kids Definition of oriental

1 sometimes offensive : asian entry 1
Hint: In the past, this word was not considered offensive when applied to Asian people. In recent years, however, many people have come to find the word hurtful when applied to a person, and you may offend someone by using it in that way.
2 : relating to or from the region that includes the countries of eastern Asia (as China, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea)

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More from Merriam-Webster on oriental

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oriental

Spanish Central: Translation of oriental

Nglish: Translation of oriental for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oriental for Arabic Speakers

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