ori·​ent | \ ˈȯr-ē-ənt How to pronounce orient (audio) , -ē-ˌent\

Definition of orient

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 capitalized : regions or countries lying to the east of a specified or implied point : the eastern regions or countries of the world : east sense 2 formerly understood to include regions (such as the Middle East) lying to the east and southeast of southern Europe but now usually understood to refer to regions and countries of eastern Asia sailed for the Orient
2 archaic : east sense 1b
3a : a pearl of great luster
b : the luster of a pearl



Definition of orient (Entry 2 of 3)

1 archaic : oriental sense 1
2a : lustrous, sparkling orient gems
b archaic : radiant, glowing
3 archaic : rising in the sky


ori·​ent | \ ˈȯr-ē-ˌent How to pronounce orient (audio) \
oriented; orienting; orients

Definition of orient (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to face or point toward the east specifically : to build (a church or temple) with the longitudinal axis pointing eastward and the chief altar at the eastern end
b : to set or arrange in any determinate position especially in relation to the points of the compass
c : to ascertain the bearings of
2a : to set right by adjusting to facts or principles
b : to acquaint with the existing situation or environment
3 : to direct (something, such as a book or film) toward the interests of a particular group
4 : to cause the axes of the molecules of (a fiber or material) to assume the same direction

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Examples of orient in a Sentence


The program is intended to orient students toward a career in medicine. Orient the map so that north is at the top. The house is oriented so that it faces west.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Drawings are never easy to present to the public, but the video orients visitors who know the fresco. Cammy Brothers, WSJ, "Taking Shape Before Our Eyes," 14 June 2019 The culture of the political press orients individual practitioners toward their professional peers, rather than towards the users, or even towards the news. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Is the media making American politics worse?," 22 Oct. 2018 Paul Resnikoff, the publisher of Digital Music News, thinks Apple will keep the app going, but re-orient to send consumers to Apple Music. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "What Apple is likely to do with Shazam, the early name-that-tune iPhone app," 11 Dec. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The bats swirl, orient, and then form a river of life in the sky. National Geographic, "10 unforgettable animal-watching adventures," 21 June 2019 The pair also orient the spacecraft to take advantages of the pressure generated by solar radiation, which can counteract some of the unwanted motion, Young says. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "How a Small CubeSat Became the Unlikely Hero of the InSight Landing," 29 Nov. 2018 But, to really change how people orient to others takes a long time. Katherine Nails, Philly.com, "Consumers, coffee shops see changes after Starbucks incidents - but will they last?," 10 July 2018 This generates what Apple calls a world map, which can be used to position and orient objects, apply lighting and shadows to them, and much more. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "How ARKit 2 works, and why Apple is so focused on AR," 16 June 2018 They are also directed by apps released for iPhone and Android devices, and a website with all relevant Jewish tourist information, set up to orient visitors. Dovid Margolin, Jewish Journal, "They came for the World Cup and stayed for Shabbat," 28 June 2018 For pieces of wood that are long and slender, such as a 2 by 12, orient the lumber with its edge against the force. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "15 Things My Father Taught Me," 17 June 2016 Not only that, but the focus on work as part of Medicaid might be used to re-orient the design of such programs to target the medical problems that keep people from working: depression, substance abuse, and musculoskeletal problems. Philly.com, "Why Medicaid work requirements could help persuade more states to expand coverage," 17 May 2018 But there was no particular pressure to change stuff or orient it one way or the other,’’ Hertzberg said. Mike Stobbe, BostonGlobe.com, "Want to avoid the flu while flying? Here’s what experts say you should do," 19 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The capsule's attitude control motor (ACM), which can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force to the vehicle in any direction, flipped the capsule end-over-end to properly orient it. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Successfully Tests Orion Ejection System," 3 July 2019 There is much to do there, major mission critical work in fact, and having a climate oriented disruption during his first month is not in his, or the nation’s, best interest. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "NASA is getting cranky climate e-mails from the White House," 18 June 2019 American fare was the favorite with 15 restaurants on the list, seven of them burger-oriented. Joyce Smith, kansascity, "Survey says: Kansans love these Kansas restaurants the best," 27 June 2018 That way, the vehicle can orient its sail to get the best boost from the Sun. Loren Grush, The Verge, "An atomic clock, ‘green’ propellant, and a sunlight-surfing sail are headed to space next week," 21 June 2019 For example, fish have lateral lines, a set of organs on the outside of the body that sense pressure and currents and help fish orient themselves. Elizabeth Preston, Science | AAAS, "A growing sensory smog threatens the ability of fish to communicate, navigate, and survive," 20 June 2019 The crew oriented the ship in relation to the sun to prevent the spacecraft from getting too hot or too cold. Thom Patterson, CNN, "'Apollo 11': 8 moments from the documentary to watch for," 19 June 2019 Grange is oriented around agriculture and includes restaurants, a bookstore, and general store. Diana Budds, Curbed, "This suburban utopia is all about worshipping nature," 14 June 2019 The 150 acres are oriented according to astronomical patterns, such as the cycles of Venus. Shivani Vora, https://www.inquirer.com, "To get closer to Mayan ruins, travel farther," 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orient.' 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 orient


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for orient

Noun and Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin orient-, oriens, from present participle of oriri to rise; akin to Sanskrit ṛṇoti he moves, arises, Greek ornynai to rouse, oros mountain


French orienter, from Middle French, from orient

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Statistics for orient

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orient

The first known use of orient was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for orient



English Language Learners Definition of orient

: to change or create (something, such as a book or a film) so that it appeals to a particular group of people or is suitable for a particular group of people
: to direct (someone) toward a goal
: to place (something) in a particular position or direction


ori·​ent | \ ˈōr-ē-ˌent How to pronounce orient (audio) \
oriented; orienting

Kids Definition of orient

1 : to set or arrange in a position especially so as to be lined up with certain points of the compass Builders oriented the house to face east.
2 : to make familiar with an existing situation or environment Volunteers are needed to orient new students.
3 : to direct toward the interests of a particular group The movie is oriented toward children.

Other Words from orient

orientation \ ˌōr-​ē-​ən-​ˈtā-​shən \ noun
ori·​ent | \ ˈōr-ē-ˌent, ˈȯr- How to pronounce orient (audio) \

Medical Definition of orient

1 : to set or arrange in any determinate position especially in relation to the points of the compass
2 : to acquaint with or adjust according to the existing situation or environment
3 : to cause the axes of the molecules of to assume the same direction

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More from Merriam-Webster on orient

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with orient

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for orient

Spanish Central: Translation of orient

Nglish: Translation of orient for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of orient for Arabic Speakers

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