:"This article refers to the cardinal direction; for other uses see
West is most commonly a
noun, adjective, or adverbindicating direction or geography.
West is one of the four
cardinal directionsor compasspoints. It is the opposite of eastand is perpendicularto northand south.
By convention, the left side of a
To go west using a compass for
navigation, set a bearing or azimuthof 270°.
West is the direction opposite that of the
Earth's rotation on its axis, and is therefore the general direction towards which the Sunsets.
Cold war"the West" was often used to refer to the NATOcamp as opposed to the Warsaw Pactand non-aligned nations. The expression survives, with an increasingly ambiguous meaning.
Moving continuously west is following a
circle of latitude, which, except in the case of the equator, is not a great circle.
The English word "west" is cognate to the
Old High Germanword "westar", which may derive from an Indo-European root from which the Latinword "vesper", meaning "evening", derives.
Buddhism, the West represents movement toward the Buddha or enlightenment (see Journey to the West). The ancient Aztecs believed that the West was the realm of the great goddess of water, mist, and maize. In Ancient Egypt, the West was considered to be the portal to the netherworld, and is the cardinal direction regarded in connection with death, though not always with a negative connotation. Ancient Egyptians also believed that the Goddess Amunetwas a personification of the West. [Campbell, Joseph. The Mythic Image. Princeton University Press, 1981.] The Celts believed that beyond the western sea off the edges of all maps lay the Otherworld, or Afterlife.
American literature(eg. " The Great Gatsby"), moving west symbolizes gaining freedom, perhaps as an association with the settling of the Old West (see also Manifest Destiny).
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