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

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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 Seismic airgun survey technology has revealed a bonanza of overlooked oil deposits, but its use can disorient, injure or kill various marine animals. al, "Bryde’s whales, endangered and exceedingly rare, found in Gulf of Mexico," 26 Jan. 2021 Seismic airgun survey technology has revealed a bonanza of overlooked oil deposits, but its use can disorient, injure or kill various marine animals. Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com, "There’s a new whale species in the Gulf. Unfortunately, it’s already teetering on extinction," 25 Jan. 2021 Not making an effort in the morning will slow down your day and disorient you. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "The Answer to What You Should Wear Now (Hint: It’s Not Sweatpants)," 11 Nov. 2020 Political observers and Trump critics have called his deceptions a form of psychological warfare meant to disorient and confuse the public, like George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "Trump's lies about voter fraud may not work. But his dishonesty may have changed politics forever," 5 Nov. 2020 This would temporarily disorient Dykes and give hostage rescue team specialists, known as breachers, time to clear the cables. CBS News, "Saving Ethan: The FBI's race against the clock to rescue kidnapped Alabama boy," 6 Oct. 2020 Such a rapid offense is meant to disorient and overwhelm a target. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, "Inside the Lincoln Project’s War Room," 5 Oct. 2020 This accentuated a feeling of foreboding, that under the watchful eye of security cameras you could get stuck in this desolate maze designed to disorient an intruder. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Commentary: My first impressions at the Erez Crossing after a lifetime crossing the U.S.-Mexico border," 23 Sep. 2020 Wake turbulence is less of an immediate threat, although flipping planes is still a big deal that can disorient pilots and cause dangerous complications. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Why Airliners Could Soon Fly in Formation, Just Like a Flock of Birds," 21 Sep. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for disorient

Time Traveler

The first known use of disorient was in 1655

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Statistics for disorient

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disorient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disorient. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of disorient

: to make (someone) lost or confused


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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disorient

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