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

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

While Maheen was brooding and detail-oriented, Angelo was easygoing. Lauren Smiley, WIRED, "The Mission to Build the Ultimate Burger Bot," 21 June 2018 The North Korean logistics teams struck the Americans as organized, detail-oriented and mission-focused, said one official involved in the planning. Washington Post, "Inside the summit: Talks with ‘aliens,’ familiar frustration," 15 June 2018 Friends describe him as organized and detail-oriented, unbeatable at word games, well-read and funny. New York Times, "50 So-So Dates Later, a Breakup Gets Unbroken," 11 May 2018 Scales said that under Heupel, tight ends had less responsibility and were less detail-oriented compared to Dooley. Alex Schiffer, kansascity, "You know Albert Okwuegbunam, but these tight ends could emerge for Missouri | The Kansas City Star," 14 Apr. 2018 Even their batting helmets will feature green ball-and-glove logos, a small but detail-oriented touch arranged by equipment manager Jason Shawger. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Camp report: Wade Miley roughed up, but Brewers hold on to beat Reds," 16 Mar. 2018 Peterson has one rigged up to the ceiling pointing straight down, alongside a projector oriented the same way. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Unseen Oceans: How the American Museum of Natural History Builds a New Exhibit," 21 June 2018 The album's lyricism orients around ideas of religious tradition and spirituality and is altogether fueled by metaphor. Henry Youtt, Billboard, "8 Lyrics from Years & Years' 'Palo Santo' to Get Over Your Exes," 6 July 2018 Heritage, by contrast, was strictly results-oriented. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, "How One Conservative Think Tank Is Stocking Trump’s Government," 20 June 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


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


see orient entry 1


French orienter, from Middle French, from orient

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Phrases Related to orient

orient oneself

the Orient

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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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Comments on orient

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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