ori·​ent | \ ˈȯr-ē-ənt, -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 \
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

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

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 Wind and solar patterns were analyzed to perfectly orient different elements of the home, such as lining up the solar panels set upon the garage. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "This Michigan farmhouse is one of the world’s greenest homes," 13 Mar. 2018 Some cities offer guidance to orient travelers to their creative sides. New York Times, "With or Without U.S. Funding, Unesco Celebrates American Cities," 26 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Helping is the fact that a large part of the economy is service-oriented, and services would not be directly affected by a trade war. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Can the U.S. economy withstand a trade war?," 13 July 2018 Your biggest issue will be a tendency to be too me-oriented. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 13 July 2018 The Leeland House menu runs from sweet potato hash to salmon sliders while Around the Corner is more bar-food oriented, with such items as chicken relleno empanadas. Cary Darling, Houston Chronicle, "Let’s Go, EaDo: What to check out on Houston’s changing east side," 14 June 2018 But the team is too action-oriented to write a check and call it a day. azcentral, "Top Companies to Work for in Arizona-Small Companies," 7 June 2018 Facebook employees are typically evaluated quarterly against some quantifiable metric, and at Facebook many of those metrics are oriented around some form of engagement — number of messages sent, for example. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 Currently, the Microsoft Hub 2S will run the existing Hub experience, which Microsoft is orienting around Microsoft Teams. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft plans to make you pay more to rotate the Surface Hub 2, just to drive you crazy," 24 Sep. 2018 But, most of the increases have been in occupations traditionally oriented toward women like teaching, administrative assistance, and bookkeeping. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Black Women's Labor in America Has Always Been Exploited," 7 Aug. 2018 Our sensory mornings are geared specifically toward our guests with autism and those who are very sensory-oriented. Anna Nguyen, Philly.com, "Elmwood Park Zoo introduces quiet space, programs for kids with autism," 5 July 2018

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

26 Nov 2018

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 \
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- \

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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a person who helps groups work together

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