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West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or . It is the opposite direction from and is the direction in which the sun sets.


Etymology

The word "west" is a word passed into some (''ouest'' in French, ''oest'' in Catalan, ''ovest'' in Italian, ''oeste'' in Spanish and Portuguese). As in other languages, the word formation stems from the fact that west is the direction of the setting sun in the evening: 'west' derives from the Indo-European root ''*wes'' reduced from ''*wes-pero'' 'evening, night', cognate with Ancient Greek ἕσπερος 'evening; evening star; western' and Latin vesper 'evening; west'. Examples of the same formation in other languages include Latin 'west' from occidō 'to go down, to set' and Hebrew מַעֲרָב maarav 'west' from עֶרֶב erev 'evening'.


Navigation

To go west using a compass for (in a place where magnetic north is the same direction as true north) one needs to set a or of 270°. West is the direction opposite that of the 's rotation on its axis, and is therefore the general direction towards which the appears to constantly progress and eventually set. This is not true on the planet , which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (). To an observer on the surface of Venus, the Sun would rise in and set in the east although Venus's opaque clouds prevent observing the Sun from the planet's surface. In a map with north at the top, west is on the left. Moving continuously west is following a .


Weather

Due to the direction of the Earth's rotation, the prevailing wind in many places in the (i.e. between 35 and 65 degrees ) is from the west, known as the .


Cultural

The phrase "the West" is often spoken in reference to the , which includes the (also the countries), the Americas, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and (in part) South Africa. The concept of the Western part of the earth has its roots in the and the . During the "the West" was often used to refer to the camp as opposed to the and . The expression survives, with an increasingly ambiguous meaning.


Symbolic meanings

In Chinese , the West represents movement toward the or enlightenment (see ). The ancient s believed that the West was the realm of the great goddess of , mist, and . In , the West was considered to be the portal to the , and is the cardinal direction regarded in connection with , though not always with a negative connotation. Ancient Egyptians also believed that the was a personification of the West.. ''The Mythic Image.'' , 1981. The s believed that beyond the western sea off the edges of all maps lay the , or Afterlife. In , west is seen to be toward the (presence) of God, as in Jewish history the and subsequent faced east, with God's Presence in the up the steps to the west. According to the , the crossed the westward into the . In , while in India, people pray facing towards the west as in respect to , is in the West-ward direction. In (e.g., in ') moving West has sometimes symbolized gaining , perhaps as an association with the settling of the (see also the and ).


Fantasy fiction

used it symbolically, with the dying Thorin calling "child of the kindly West" in '. This is much more definite in ', where the east served and his enemies associate themselves with the West. In Saberhagen's , the rival powers are West and East, including both humans and supernatural beings. All demons are part of the East. This is not universal. In Tolkien's earlier work, the north had been the direction of evil. C S Lewis in has the east as the sacred direction, leading to Aslan's country


References


External links

* {{CandODirections Orientation (geometry)