The word east comes from Middle English est, from Old English ēast, which itself comes from the Proto-Germanic *aus-to- or *austra- "east, toward the sunrise", from Proto-Indo-European *aus- "to shine," or "dawn". This is similar to Old High German *ōstar "to the east", Latin aurora "dawn", and Greek ēōs or heōs. Ēostre, a Germanic goddess of dawn, might have been a personification of both dawn and the cardinal points.
East is the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the Sun appears to rise. The practice of praying towards the East is older than Christianity, but has been adopted by this religion as the Orient was thought of as containing mankind's original home. Hence, most Christian churches are oriented towards the east.
- "east". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "east". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Orientation of Churches". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- Peters, Bosco (30 April 2012). "Architectural Design Guidelines 1". Liturgy.co.nz. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- The dictionary definition of east at Wiktionary