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

South Korean baseball fans who happen upon Tacowa in Boca Raton may experience a feeling that’s just as disorienting. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: After Parkland, a Korean baseball announcer finds solace in tacos at family’s Tacowa in Boca," 22 Aug. 2019 Beyond that, the game looks and plays smoothly, and there was never anything truly disorienting about the experience that wasn’t clearly intended by design. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Westworld Awakening is a VR game that puts you in the shoes of a newly self-aware android," 19 Aug. 2019 Secured in the vault, Bemis was disoriented after the bombs did their work, the blasts blew the vault door open. Mike Oliver | Moliver@al.com, al, "My Vinyl Countdown is all ears as it enters The Twighlight Zone," 17 Aug. 2019 We are disoriented by the realization that what is absurd to some is true enough to others. N.c., The Economist, "Conspiracy theories are dangerous—here’s how to crush them," 12 Aug. 2019 Circle of life We were also disoriented by my father’s dramatic mood swings. Vikram Zutshi, Quartz India, "Why do abusive men (and the women who support them) behave the way they do?," 19 July 2019 The willingness of so many voters to cast their ballots for Donald Trump has been disorienting. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Democrats’ Trust Exercise," 15 Sep. 2019 This kind of disorienting, distressing experience is a natural part of having a newborn. SELF, "Actually, Maternity Leave Is Not a Vacation," 20 Aug. 2019 Where the large works are bombastic and disorienting, the small paintings are intimate and slyly humorous. Sharon Mizota, latimes.com, "‘Migrant Caravan’ isn’t so different from ‘Disco!’ in this artist’s hands," 1 July 2019

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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Statistics for disorient

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for disorient

The first known use of disorient was in 1655

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More Definitions for disorient



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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More from Merriam-Webster on disorient

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disorient

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disorient

Spanish Central: Translation of disorient

Nglish: Translation of disorient for Spanish Speakers

Comments on disorient

What made you want to look up disorient? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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