late 14c., "of the orient; from the east," from Old French oriental "eastern, from the east" (12c.) and directly from Latin orientalis "of or belonging to the east," from orientem (see orient (n.)). Originally in reference to the sky, geographical sense, often with a capital O-, is attested from late 15c.; oriental carpet is recorded by 1828. Of gems or stones, "of superior quality," late 14c.
"native or inhabitant of the east," 1701, from oriental (adj.). Probably a new use; Middle English had Oriental "a native of the Orient" (late 15c.), also "a resident of the eastern parts of England" (mid-15c.).
updated on November 05, 2019