orientation

noun

ori·​en·​ta·​tion ˌȯr-ē-ən-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce orientation (audio)
-ˌen-
plural orientations
1
a
: the act or process of orienting or of being oriented
These materials are for the orientation of new employees.
b
: the state of being oriented
the orientation of the main altar of the church
broadly : arrangement, alignment
the orientation of molecules
2
a
: a usually general or lasting direction of thought, inclination, or interest
the fundamentally human orientation of Greek art Bruce Cole
This company has a decidedly conservative orientation.
b
: a person's sexual identity or self-identification as bisexual, straight, gay, lesbian, pansexual, etc. : the state of being bisexual, straight, gay, lesbian, pansexual, etc. : sexual orientation
3
: change of position by organs, organelles, or organisms in response to external stimulus
The plant's orientation is toward light.
orientational adjective
orientationally adverb

Example Sentences

These materials are used for the orientation of new employees. They identified as bisexual in orientation. The organization has a decidedly conservative orientation. Her later works were more introspective in orientation. New students need to go through a short orientation before they begin classes.
Recent Examples on the Web Upcoming events at Freetown Farm include a new volunteer orientation, an introduction to bird watching class, a repair café to help fix broken items, and several art workshops using natural media, such as walnut ink. Susan Soldavin, Baltimore Sun, 18 Oct. 2022 People of various ethnicities, identities, orientation, physical abilities, languages, circumstances and yes even hair color. Stephen Underwood, Hartford Courant, 6 Oct. 2022 Cognitive decline was measured using a clinical dementia rating scale that focused on six areas: memory, orientation, judgment and problem solving, community affairs, home and hobbies, and personal care. Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News, 27 Sep. 2022 This includes designing the house for the best orientation to the sun, specifically for windows and solar panels, for maximum heat and light. Kristina Mcguirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 23 Aug. 2022 The 11-inch-diameter brushes of this Ohio Steel sweeper are in a spiral—as opposed to straight—orientation, which puts less stress on the sweeper's internal components, resulting in a longer lifespan with fewer maintenance issues. Alex Rennie, Popular Mechanics, 21 Aug. 2022 This is the blandest possible orientation, Epic Fantasy for Dummies. Darren Franich, EW.com, 19 Aug. 2022 The album is full of references to aging, parenting, and nostalgia for youth, but also to some new orientation to life, one that takes its finitude a touch more seriously. Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker, 15 May 2022 Thus, the orientation of the magnetic field flips, too. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 10 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orientation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of orientation was in 1839

Dictionary Entries Near orientation

Cite this Entry

“Orientation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orientation. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

orientation

noun

ori·​en·​ta·​tion ˌōr-ē-ən-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce orientation (audio)
ˌȯr-ē-ˌen-
1
a
: the act or process of orienting or of being oriented
b
: the state of being oriented
2
a
: a usually general or lasting direction of thought, inclination, or interest
b
: a person's sexual identity or self-identification
bisexual in orientation
3
: change of position by a cell or organism or by one of their parts in response to outside stimulus

Medical Definition

orientation

noun

ori·​en·​ta·​tion ˌōr-ē-ən-ˈtā-shən, ˌȯr-, -ˌen- How to pronounce orientation (audio)
1
a
: the act or process of orienting or of being oriented
b
: the state of being oriented
2
: a usually general or lasting direction of thought, inclination, or interest see sexual orientation
3
: change of position by organs, organelles, or organisms in response to external stimulus
4
: awareness of the existing situation with reference to time, place, and identity of persons
psychological orientation
orientational adjective
orientationally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on orientation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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