I've heard of the word 'Occidental' or 'The Occident' used to mean the same as Oriental or 'The Orient' but applied to the European continent. This I've seen in historic fiction, such as the works of Patrick O'Brian, and 'The Occidental' - being a pub in Sydney.

Apart from that - I've never heard anyone use this term in conversation. Is it still used?

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    Language-wise, occidental is neither the same as oriental nor is it applied specifically to Europe. See my answer below for an explanation.
    – Kris
    Dec 24, 2011 at 10:09
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    Hawkeye, do you mean that The Occident is used to mean the Western World, in the same way the The Orient is used to mean the Eastern World? Dec 24, 2011 at 10:27

2 Answers 2


Occident is the antonym of orient, not a synonym.

noun \ˈäk-sə-dənt, -ˌdent\
: west
(from sunset)

Occident is not "used to mean the same as Oriental". However, the word is very rarely used, and today, it is mostly limited to sense of the Western World.

This ngram shows the limited and declining use or the words. Notice oriental itself steeply falling in recent years.

1950-2008: occident,occidental,orient,oriental Occident,Occidental,Orient,Oriental,OCCIDENT,OCCIDENTAL,ORIENT,ORIENTAL


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    Note that Google ngrams is case sensitive, and both Oriental and Occidental are commonly capitalized. These are not captured in the link. Dec 24, 2011 at 12:51
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    @BrettReynolds: Replaced ngram image with enhanced scope as suggested. Tx.
    – Kris
    Dec 24, 2011 at 14:36
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    I use it mostly in a pun -- being a linguist, I would -- the opposite of getting Oriented is getting Occidised. Dec 24, 2011 at 17:31
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    Of course,'orient' is so high because it is also a verb. But did you know the connection? See english.stackexchange.com/a/39099/8019 Dec 24, 2011 at 17:40
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    @Kris: Um, yes. That's the pun. Getting occidised is much more often fatal than getting oriented. Dec 25, 2011 at 18:36

Those terms are used in traditional astrology: for the planets in horary charts, and sometimes in natal chart interpretation. Oriental planet is the planet which rise on the horizont before sun. Occidental planet rise on the horizont after the sun. There is another definiton from Ptolomy, but it is purely astrological and it considers geometrical division of the natal chart.

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