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Word Of The Day

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62 : Occident [Sep. 5th, 2004|03:53 pm]
Word Of The Day


Occident (n) \AKH-suh-dunt\

: regions or countries lying to the west of a specified or implied point of orientation

Example sentence:

"Not only are we in the Occident girding ourselves for recession, but... [the] economies are showing signs of deflation, too." (Kevin Libin, Canadian Business, December 10, 2001)

You may not be reflecting on the history of the word "Occident" as you watch a beautiful sunset, but there is a connection. "Occident," which comes from Latin "occidere," meaning "to fall," once referred to the part of the sky in which the sun goes down. Geoffrey Chaucer used the word in that now obsolete sense around 1386, and shortly thereafter, the word took on the "western regions and countries" sense that we still use. Exactly what is meant by "western" is not always the same. Originally, "Occident" referred to western Europe or the Western Roman Empire. In modern times, it usually refers to some portion of Europe and North America as distinct from Asia. The opposite of "Occident" is "Orient," which comes from Latin "oriri" ("to rise").