Top Definition
Politically incorrect term used in place of "Asian." Correct usage should be an adjective for things like inanimate objects, not humans.
Correct usage: There's an Oriental rug store on Derbe Drive.
Are you going to the Oriental market?

Incorrect usage: Is that dude oriental?
Orientals are known to be bad drivers.
by Sean-Paul December 01, 2003
A word which originally was associated with Asia (including Arabic-speaking regions, Central, South, and East Asia). The term is used for East Asians in British English (where 'Asian' means someone from South Asia; i.e. Pakistan or India). The term is controversial in North America as it is still used in parts of Canada to denote East Asian without racist connotation or denotation; however, in the US it is considered by politically correct people (=people who read Edward Said) to connote the imperialist/colonialist period of European attitudes towards (East) Asians. Usage is, therefore, relative to a) Where you are and b) Who you're talking to. So everybody just relax.
"He is a specialist in East Asian Languages." PC in the USA. However, he might have received his degree from the London School of Oriental and African Languages.
by Jason23 January 31, 2008
Can describe EITHER people or things as being from Asia. Many Americans will heatedly argue that only objects are oriental, and to call a person an oriental is now considered racist. They tell you to call them Asian or, if applicable, Asian American. But what most Americans don't know is that in the UK a person from East Asia is considered oriental, and South Asians are the ones designated as Asian. It's a relative term.
UK Person: Look at those Oriental people over there.
US Person: You shouldn't call them Oriental. You should call them Asian.
UK Person: But they're Japanese. They aren't Indian. They're Oriental.
US Person: Rugs are Oriental. People are not.
UK Person: YOU are a rug. Learn more about the English language outside of your stupid country.
by kijsjaan08 October 12, 2008
a word that simply means "eastern". It refers to anything or anyone from the "East". "Oriental" was first applied mainly to Mesopotamia, Persia and maybe India because those lands were east of the Roman Empire. Later on ancient China was found to be more than a myth and so the previous "Orient" became known as the "Near" or "Middle" East and East Asia was now tagged as the "Orient" or the "Far East". Because of the geography the term "Oriental" came to be applied to the cultural aspects, the peoples and other things from the "Far East". Of course, "Western" is used to refer to anything or anyone from Europe, North America and such.
1. "Oriental" is a term generally applied to the "race"/ethnicities that inhabit the region from Myanmar (formerly Burma) all the way to Korea and Japan. It's a term referring to geography ("East") and is not an offensive or slur word. Some politically correct people in America think it is but I've known some Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese and others from the Orient in college and they do not find the word to be offensive at all.

2. There are groceries and restaurants that specialize in East Asian food. Many of them use the word "Oriental" on their signs, so apparently they don't see that word as a racial slam, do they?

3. Rugs made in Iran or India are still called "Oriental rugs". They are nice, huge, heavy and expensive.

4. There's been an Oriental presence and influence in America for a long time. There are Chinatowns, Japanese-American communities, Vietnamese neighborhoods and Korean neighborhoods on the West Coast states (especially California) and they have been in America for over 160 years. Like all ethnic groups here they have played an important role in making the U.S.A. the great nation that it is today.

5. Also in the Pacific West coast states the Native American peoples have oral traditions detailing of contact with Oriental people long ago. The travellers were probably Chinese, Japanese and others. Relations with those visitors were pretty good.

6. Oriental nations have given the world many contribution in the fields of sciences, arts, military strategy, medicine and more.
by Not Racist And Not P.C. June 12, 2009
Adjective meaning "east"

Comes from the Latin, "Oriens" = east.

Anything east of Europe is Oriental in the Euro-centric mind. That's why Oriental Rugs come from the Persia, not China.

Oriental is associated with European colonialism in China. Especially a British image of China as once great race, but declined and vulnerable to colonization and subjugation. Negro, Coon, and Mic share similar connotations.
Oriental rugs come from Persia
by slk December 02, 2004
USA/Canada/Australia: Normally offensive way of referring to people of East Asian descent. The term "Asian" is normally used to refer exclusively to them.
UK (and most places elsewhere): Normal, politically correct way of referring to people of East Asian descent. In Britain, the term Asian usually refers to people of South Asian descent (i.e. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc.)
(Imagine a Cambodian named Matt moved in next door.)

American 1: "Hey! Did you meet our new neighbor Matt?"
American 2: "You mean that oriental guy?"
American 1: "Woah man! What do you have against Asians?"

British 1: "Hey, did you meet the new neighbour? His name is Matt."
British 2: "Is he the new oriental guy who moved in to that house?"
British 1: "Yep. He's from Cambodia. He's quite nice."
by sega31098 October 20, 2014
Something or someone hailing from the Orient. Absolutely NOT an offensive term, only considered so by the uptight, ultrasensitive PC crowd in America. In Europe, the term is widely used without any connotations of insult. Using "Asian" for a people within the continent of Asia is selfish and self-serving to undermine other non-Oriental people.
Akinori is from Japan, thus he is an Oriental.

The Oriental rugs were imported from China.
by Roy R. August 02, 2006
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