east / ēst/ • n. (usu. the east) 1. the direction toward the point of the horizon where the sun rises at the equinoxes, on the right-hand side of a person facing north, or the point on the horizon itself: a gale was blowing from the east. ∎ the compass point corresponding to this. 2. the eastern part of the world or of a specified country, region, or town: a factory in the east of the city. ∎ (usu. the East) the regions or countries lying to the east of Europe, esp. China, Japan, and India. ∎ (usu. the East) the eastern part of the U.S. from the Alleghenies on the west and north of the Mason-Dixon line. ∎ (usu. the East) hist. the former communist states of eastern Europe. 3. (East) Bridge the player sitting to the left of North and partnering West. • adj. 1. lying toward, near, or facing the east: the hospital's east wing. ∎ (of a wind) blowing from the east. 2. (often East) of or denoting the eastern part of a specified area, city, or country or its inhabitants: East Texas East African. • adv. to or toward the east: traveling east, he met two men.
In a Christian church, east designates the end that contains the (high) altar, traditionally but not necessarily the geographical east.
The word is recorded from Old English (in form ēst-) and is of Germanic origin; it comes ultimately from an Indo-European root shared by Latin aurora, Greek auōs ‘dawn’.
East End the part of London east of the City as far as the River Lea, including the Docklands; traditionally having a high immigrant population, and marked by poverty.
East India Company a trading company (informally, John Company) formed in 1600 to develop commerce in the newly colonized areas of SE Asia and India. In the 18th century it took administrative control of Bengal and other areas of India, and held it until the British Crown took over in 1858 in the wake of the Indian Mutiny. An East Indiaman was a trading ship belonging to the East India Company.
East Indies an archaic name for the whole of SE Asia to the east of and including India.
east is east and west is west a line from Kipling's ‘Ballad of East and West’ (1892), used as an assertion of ineradicable racial and cultural differences.
East Side a part of Manhattan in New York City, lying between the East River and Fifth Avenue.
east, west, home's best the delights of the most exotic place cannot equal the pleasures of one's own home; saying recorded from the mid 19th century.
See also eastern, when the wind is in the east.
So †easter eastern. XIV–XIX. perh. continuing OE. compar. ēasterra. Hence prob. easterly XVI. eastern. OE. ēasterne = OS., OHG. ōstroni, ON. austrœnn :- Gmc. *austrōnja-, eastward adv. toward the east. OE. ēastewearde; hence as adj. XV.