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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
In 2016, Thailand became the first Asian country to reach the World Health Organization’s mother-to-child transmission targets. Jennifer Lotito, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Recent top-performing videos for the song, a No. 48 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for the band in 2001, include footage from Coldplay’s Asian tour as well as a viral upload of a pair of fans getting married to the track. Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, 15 Feb. 2024 The election also carries high stakes for the United States and China, since Indonesia has a huge domestic market, natural resources including nickel and palm oil, and diplomatic influence with its Southeast Asian neighbors. Niniek Karmini and Edna Tariganthe Associated Press,, 15 Feb. 2024 The report analyzed arrest data from 2010 to 2020 from the Glendale, Pasadena and South Pasadena police departments and found large disparities between the rates of arrest for Black and Latino populations versus those of their white and Asian counterparts. Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 The new scheme invites filmmakers from Hong Kong, European and/or Asian countries to develop common ideas, foster new talent-partnerships and apply for a single round of support in 2024. Patrick Frater, Variety, 14 Feb. 2024 On the flip side, Bounce found that winter and autumn travel tend to come with the most expensive pricing for many destinations, including Asian cities like Chaing Mai and Phuket in Thailand, which see the highest rates in December. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 14 Feb. 2024 The love songs helped scientists confirm a hunch that the southeast Asian nation has the world’s largest population of Skywalker gibbons. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 14 Feb. 2024 Critical electronic components have become a battleground between Washington and Beijing, with the U.S. spending tens of billions of dollars to wean itself off Asian supply lines and bolster the domestic economy. Mackenzie Hawkins, Fortune Asia, 2 Feb. 2024
In 2022, Kim connected with action sports agent Yulin Olliver at an event organized by Soy Sauce Nation, which began as an online community for Asian Pacific Islander (API) snowboarders but has expanded to a series of in-person events. Michelle Bruton, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Ethnic studies focuses on four groups: Black Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans. Dana Goldstein, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Seoul, South Korea CNN — The coach of the South Korean national soccer team has been fired in the wake of a brawl between star player and captain Son Heung-min and midfielder Lee Kang-in before the team’s disastrous Asian Cup exit. Brad Lendon, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 This week, the Civic Center Soundtrack free concert series launches at Fulton Plaza, between San Francisco Main Library and the Asian Art Museum. Randy McMullen, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 The group is co-chaired by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council and the Asian Business Association but according to city filings, all contributions so far have come from SDG&E shareholder funds. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Feb. 2024 That law paved the way for millions of immigrants from Asian, Africa, and Latin American countries to come to the US. John Blake, CNN, 3 Feb. 2024 Along with columnist Jenn Harris and West Coast Experiences editor Michelle Woo, Tseng came up with the top 11 Asian Costcos in L.A. and Orange counties. Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2024 Roughly 38 percent are racial minorities, including 127 African Americans, 137 Hispanic Americans, 170 Asian Americans and 18 Native Americans. Abbie Vansickle, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2024 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 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


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