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

transitive verb

: to cause to lose bearings : displace from normal position or relationship
: to cause to lose the sense of time, place, or identity

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 When experiencing the twisties, athletes can get disoriented mid-air, which can be dangerous and lead to serious injury. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 20 Sep. 2023 Harris found the first year—essentially a protracted audition—disorienting. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 The experience of entering Eddie Roschi’s country home in the Alentejo region of southern Portugal is purposefully disorienting. Gisela Williams José F. Costa, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 All these aural elements become more fragmentary and disorienting in the lead-up to the hit that goes wrong, inciting the action that follows. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 Written by Charles and Bob Dylan, working under the pseudonyms Rene Fontaine and Sergei Petrov, the film is an inscrutably disorienting allegory on show business, cultural imperialism and probably some other stuff too. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2023 The opening pause bursts open a door to heady confusion, woozy guitar, and all-around disorienting vibes. Jessica Gentile, Vulture, 8 Sep. 2023 This story of mistaken identity would on its own be gripping and revealing enough, both as a psychological study and for its explorations of the double in art and history, the disorienting effects of social media, and the queasy feeling of looking into a distorted mirror. Laura Marsh, The New Republic, 5 Sep. 2023 Those questions also made headlines when Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, now 90, returned to Capitol Hill this spring visibly frail and appearing disoriented after being sidelined due to a case of shingles that resulted in serious complications. Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News, 5 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disorient.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of disorient was in 1655

Dictionary Entries Near disorient

Cite this Entry

“Disorient.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disorient. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​ori·​ent (ˈ)dis-ˈōr-ē-ˌent How to pronounce disorient (audio)
: to cause to be confused or lost

Medical Definition


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

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