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The term Asian can refer to something or someone from Asia. Its precise use varies depending on who is using it.

In the United Kingdom, the term Asian usually refers to people whose ethnic heritage is from the Indian subcontinent.

Since approximately 1990 in the United States and Australasia, "Asian" has been considered a more politically correct term for "Oriental", which previously referred to people from China, Japan, and Korea; the older term is still in use in Britain.

In the U.S., the term "Asian" is now used to also describe people from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Tibet, the Philippines, and other nations. It is sometimes also sometimes used more formally to refer to people from the entire Asian continent, including Indians and Southeast Asians.

To avoid the confusion that sometimes occurs, the term "East Asian" is sometimes used to distinguish people from China, Japan, and Korea from other peoples such as Indians who are also technically considered Asian. It should be noted that "East Asian" is a relatively formal term and is used only when it is necessary to make a distinction between them and other Asian peoples. The term "South Asian" is used very formally and politely to refer to people from India. In certain parts of the U.S. such as New York City, Indians are often refered to as Hindu rather than Asian, possibly to avoid confusion between American Indians and Hindu Indians. The term "West Asian" is used in very rare occasions to refer to people from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern nations. The term "West Asian" is often considered overly formal and may be considered by some to be overly politically correct. Although some Russians hail from the Asian continent, most are genetically closer to Europeans and therefore not referred to as "Asian".

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