dis·​ori·​ent | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈȯr-ē-ˌent How to pronounce disorient (audio) \
disoriented; disorienting; disorients

Definition of disorient

transitive verb

1a : to cause to lose bearings : displace from normal position or relationship
b : to cause to lose the sense of time, place, or identity
2 : confuse

Examples of disorient in a Sentence

Thick fog can disorient even an experienced hiker. troops disoriented by the sudden change in battle plans
Recent Examples on the Web Another room spins to disorient the guests while clowns jump around on the walls. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 25 Feb. 2022 Ukrainians have already utilized psy-ops elements: In the capital, residents have removed road signs to disorient Russian soldiers unfamiliar with Kyiv’s streets. Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb. 2022 Ukraine’s road management agency has also urged citizens on Facebook to dismantle road signs and build barricades of burning tires to disorient the Russians. Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2022 The car’s corner-to-corner, ambulance-like wail comes courtesy of two square-cut reduction gears in the motor assemblies, there to provide, um, aural feedback—loud enough to disorient overflying crows. Dan Neil, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 Eager to disorient his audience, Suzuki’s camera spins and tilts, then pauses on symmetrical frames that turn the uniformity of the nuns’ habits and expressions cultlike and sinister. Elle Carroll, Vulture, 6 Dec. 2021 Some overhead shots of the West Wing spin counterclockwise, an effect meant to disorient viewers. Dan Reilly, Vulture, 21 Oct. 2021 In a display that seemed to stun and disorient Djokovic, Brooksby came out flying around the court, using his athleticism and quick hands to return shots that would normally draw errors and drawing Djokovic into rallies that clearly flustered him. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 The show’s ever-present wordplay and confusing rhyme schemes disorient the listener, wearing them down before forcing them to internalize every line by rote. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disorient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of disorient

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for disorient

French désorienter, from dés- dis- + orienter to orient

Learn More About disorient

Time Traveler for disorient

Time Traveler

The first known use of disorient was in 1655

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near disorient




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for disorient

Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disorient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disorient. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for disorient


transitive verb
dis·​ori·​ent | \ (ˈ)dis-ˈōr-ē-ˌent, -ˈȯr- How to pronounce disorient (audio) \

Medical Definition of disorient

: to produce a state of disorientation in : disorientate the next day the patient was disoriented but not comatoseJournal of the American Medical Association

More from Merriam-Webster on disorient

Nglish: Translation of disorient for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!