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Anglo-Norman Orient, oriente and Middle French orient the East (c1100 in Old French; French orient), region situated to the east of a given point (beginning of the 12th cent.), the corresponding compass point (first half of the 12th cent.), sparkle of the eyes (1573), lustre of a pearl (1742) and its etymon classical Latin orient-, the eastern part of the world, the part of the sky in which the sun rises, the east, the rising sun, daybreak, dawn, use as noun - rising, eastern, present participle - to rise < the same Indo-European base as Sanskrit to raise, move, vati rises, moves, Avestan ar- to set in motion, move, r naoiti moves, ancient Greek to rise. Opposed, in senses A. 1 , A. 2, B. 2 to OCCIDENT n., OCCIDENT adj.
- A. n. 1. a. Usu. with the. That part of the world situated to the east of a particular point; eastern countries, or the eastern part of a country; the East. Cf. OCCIDENT n. Originally used with reference to countries lying immediately to the east of the Mediterranean or Southern Europe (i.e. east of the Roman Empire); now usually understood to mean East Asia, or occas. Europe or the Eastern hemisphere, as opposed to North America.
- b. pearl of orient n. (also pearl of the orient) a pearl from the seas around India, as distinguished from those of less beauty found in European mussels; (hence, more generally) a brilliant or precious pearl. Obs.
- 2. That part of the heavens in which the sun and other celestial objects rise; the corresponding point of the compass, or the region of the earth lying in the direction of this; the east. Usu. with the. Chiefly poet.
- 3. The rising of the sun; daybreak, dawn. Also fig. Obs.
- 4. The colour or special lustre of a pearl of the best quality.
- 5. = pearl of orient n. at sense A. 1b. Obs.
- B. adj. 1. a. Of a pearl or other precious stone, originally one coming from the East: of superior value and brilliancy, lustrous, precious. Also fig. Now rare.
- b. gen. Brilliant, radiant, resplendent. Chiefly poet. and literary. Obs. Occas. with allusion to the sun. Cf. sense A. 3.
- 2. poet. Situated in or belonging to the east; eastern, oriental; facing east. Obs.
- a. Of the sun, daylight, etc.: rising. Also fig. Chiefly poet.
- b. Of the colour of the dawn; bright red. Now only in Orient red.