Commentary: One of the four cardinal directions. Does not refer to a place. Most common usage.
I started walking to the east, knowing that I'd reach New York eventually.
There's a storm coming from the east.
The meteor landed somewhere to the east of here.
Children learn the cardinal directions-- north, south, east, and west-- in school.
WordNet 2.0 Sense Numbers: 1
Commentary: Any place that lies to the east, when not referring specifically to Asia. Usually the eastern United States, if the speaker is from the United States.
People from the east are so stuck-up and arrogant!
The east is full of trees and rocks.
WordNet 2.0 Sense Numbers: 3
Commentary: The Orient, or the countries of Asia, in a general sense. Usually capitalized.
When Marco Polo returned to Europe, he brought some treasures from the East.
The Cold War pitted the East against the West.
Europeans view the East as a mysterious place of sensuality and danger.
WordNet 2.0 Sense Numbers: 2