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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
However, trading may be thin, given that key Asian markets, including Hong Kong and China, are closed. WSJ, 2 Oct. 2023 This is the area to visit in order to soak in the city's vibrant Asian culture. Harrison Pierce, Travel + Leisure, 1 Oct. 2023 With the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts and Correa leading their teams, the contest became the first among the four major U.S. sports leagues in which both teams’ managers were of Asian descent. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2023 In White society, Asian men have to prove their masculinity, but in this space (sumo), it is unquestioned. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Sep. 2023 To truly address the problem, Dang said that media, politicians and those with a platform need to be more cognizant that their words and the blame that was shifted toward the Asian community has led to real-life consequences. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, 29 Sep. 2023 Police Chief Adrian Diaz has said he's met with representatives of the Indian and Asian communities about it. CBS News, 29 Sep. 2023 After months of searching for cheap tickets and accommodation, his trip has been a whirlwind of stops in several Southeast Asian countries before visiting Hong Kong for three days. Christian Shepherd, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2023 This will be the third location for Southeast Asian restaurant Komodo — after Miami and Dallas. Melinda Sheckells, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 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 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


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