: regions or countries lying to the west of a specified or implied point of orientation
Did You Know?
You may not be reflecting on the history of the word Occident as you watch a beautiful sunset, but there is a connection. Occident, which comes from Latin occidere, meaning "to fall," once referred to the part of the sky in which the sun goes down. Geoffrey Chaucer used the word in that now-obsolete sense around 1390 in The Man of Law's Tale. In an earlier work, The Monk's Tale, which was written circa 1375, he used the word in the "western regions and countries" sense that we still use. Exactly what is meant by "western" is not always the same. Originally, Occident referred to western Europe or the Western Roman Empire. In modern times, it usually refers to some portion of Europe and North America as distinct from Asia. The opposite of Occident is Orient, which comes from Latin oriri ("to rise").
"… [We] begin in Jerusalem and skip to Istanbul, from where the Orient Express sets off on its long and winding route to the grayer delights of the Occident." — Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2017
"Look up Tangier in any atlas and you can see what makes it special. It's the crossroads of the ancient world, where Orient and Occident collide." — William Cook, The Spectator, 16 Nov. 2013
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Unscramble the letters to create a word that refers to the position of planets or stars with respect to one another that is held to influence human affairs: TACSEP.VIEW THE ANSWER
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