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Compound of middle + east formed in English, modeled on Far East and Near East. Attested from the latter 19th century.
- (geopolitics, dated) The region between the Near East and the Far East.
- 1920 April 21, House of Commons, quoting Austen Chamberlain, “Budget proposals, Committee of Ways and Means”, in The Parliamentary Debates, volume 128, page 455:
- Well, what may happen in the Middle East? I agree there are uncertainties, but when he was condemning the policy of the Government with regard to the Turkish peace, had he thought for a moment of the financial effect of the policy which he advocated?
- (geopolitics) The region comprising West Asia without the South Caucasus and additionally including all of Egypt (not just the Sinai) and all of Turkey (not just Asian Turkey).
region comprising Western Asia without the South Caucasus and additionally including all of Egypt and all of Turkey
- “Middle East, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2002.