1. Abbr. E
a. The cardinal point on the mariner's compass 90° clockwise from due north and directly opposite west.
b. The direction of the earth's axial rotation.
2. An area or region lying in the east.
3. often East
a. The eastern part of the earth, especially eastern Asia.
b. The eastern part of a region or country.
4. often East
a. The region of the United States east of the Allegheny Mountains and north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
b. The former Communist bloc of countries in Asia and especially in Eastern Europe.
5. The end of a church at which the altar is located. Also called liturgical east.
1. To, toward, of, facing, or in the east: the east bank of the river.
2. Originating in or coming from the east: a cool east wind.
In, from, or toward the east: a river flowing east.
[Middle English est, from Old English ēast; see aus- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.