East or Orient is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass. It is the opposite direction from west and is the direction from which the Sunrise on the Earth.
As in other languages, the word is formed from the fact that east is the direction where the Sun rises: east
comes from Middle English est
, from Old English ēast
, which itself comes from the Proto-Germanic * aus-to-
or * austra-
"east, toward the sunrise", from Proto-Indo-European *aus- "to shine," or "dawn
cognate with Old High German *ōstar
"to the east", Latin aurora
'dawn', and Greek language
Examples of the same formation in other languages include Latin Orient
'east, sunrise' from orior 'to rise, to originate', Greek language
'east' from ἀνατέλλω 'to rise' and Hebrew מִזְרָח mizraḥ 'east' from זָרַח zaraḥ 'to rise, to shine'. Ēostre
, a Germanic goddess of dawn, might have been a personification of both dawn and the cardinal points.
By convention, the right-hand side
of a map
is east. This convention has developed from the use of a compass, which places North
at the top. However, on maps of planets such as Venus
which rotate retrograde, the left hand side is east.
To go east using a compass for navigation, one sets a bearing or azimuth of 90°.
East is the direction toward which the Earth
rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the Sun
appears to rise. The practice of praying towards the East is older than Christianity
, but has been
adopted by this religion as the Orient was thought of as containing mankind's original home. Hence, some Christian churches have been traditionally oriented towards the east.
This tradition of having the alter on the liturgical east is a part of the church orientation concept liturgical east and west.
The Orient is the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world, in relation to Europe. In English, it is largely a metonym for, and referring to the same area as, the continent of Asia, divided into the Far East, Middle East, and Near East. Despite this Eurocentric origin, these regions are still located to the east of the Geographical centre of Earth.
Within an individual city, the east end is typically poorer because the prevailing winds blow from the west.