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

Definition of orient

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to direct (something, such as a book or film) toward the interests of a particular group
2a : to set right by adjusting to facts or principles
b : to acquaint with the existing situation or environment
3a : to set or arrange in any determinate position especially in relation to the points of the compass
b : to ascertain the bearings of
c : 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
4 : to cause the axes of the molecules of (a fiber or material) to assume the same direction


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

Definition of orient (Entry 2 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
2a : a pearl of great luster
b : the luster of a pearl
3 archaic : east sense 1b



Definition of orient (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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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: Verb

The Vikings, though, want to be more run-oriented, hoping to rely on Blount transfer Edrick Houston, as well as at least four other backs — two who can run straight ahead and two who are shifty. Arthur L. Mack, al, "Mary G. Montgomery hoping to continue progress in Stan McCain’s second season," 7 Aug. 2019 Developers are lining up new retail tenants for a transit-oriented, 5-building development in Farmers Branch. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Farmers Branch Mustang Station mixed-use project will feature restaurant tenants," 7 Aug. 2019 Inside a pair of binoculars—really, a joined set of telescopes, allowing for the sense of depth that comes from two-eyed vision—light passes through multiple lenses and prisms to be magnified, oriented, and shaped. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Things Come Apart: Binoculars," 14 July 2019 Alexander’s solution is to re-orient the room, pushing the counter to the edge and putting a round, standard-height table in the middle. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Let Christopher Alexander design your life," 11 July 2019 Both the puppies and piglets oriented toward and touched the experimenter with equal frequency. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Pet pigs can communicate with humans—especially when food is involved," 11 July 2019 Her thoughts turn to a young man who also is artistic, animated, very computer-oriented, gifted at science. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "4 addresses in 4 months: This is what poverty looks like for this Cincinnati family," 10 July 2019 And their leaders may be more likely to turn up Thursday at an annual media industry conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, a venue oriented more toward high-stakes deal-making than reflections on perceived bias in online communications. CBS News, "White House social media summit to snub tech giants, host conservative personalities," 9 July 2019 In addition, when placed outside, the animals will generally orient toward the south, the direction of their ongoing migration. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Declining monarch-butterfly populations may be hard to restore," 25 June 2019

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

Hoping to orient jurors, prosecutors called to the stand an expert in extremism, who offered a primer on both Antifa and the Proud Boys. Colin Moynihan, New York Times, "How Police Used Antifa Information to Investigate Far-Right Proud Boys," 8 Aug. 2019 If fuel can't power the thrusters that make sure both probes orient their antennae toward Earth, engineers wouldn't be able to receive data or communicate with the probes. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "NASA's plan to keep the Voyager spacecraft awake and flying," 10 July 2019 Aside from a brief introductory text, there is little information about either Mr. Viola or the works to orient viewers. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like: The Art of Bill Viola’ Review: Spirituality in an Age of Irony," 9 July 2019 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

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


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 3c


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for orient


French orienter, from Middle French, from 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

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Statistics for orient

Last Updated

17 Sep 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

Comments on orient

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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