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

Verb 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 Other parts of analysis that are real-time but not directly safety-oriented might run on hardware nearby. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The fourth Industrial revolution emerges from AI and the Internet of Things," 18 June 2019 Houston is a uniquely challenging opponent, oriented around one of the most anomalous creators in NBA history. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Place items with baked-on food face down, oriented toward the spray arm. Emma Soren, The New Yorker, "How to Properly Load a Dishwasher," 11 Sep. 2019 In July, Google began collaborating with Wescover, a platform oriented toward design objects, public and local art, furniture, and craft — enabling you to learn the name of that anonymous painting in your WeWork space or coffee shop. Sophie Haigney, New York Times, "Wondering Who Did That Painting? There’s an App (or Two) for That," 11 Sep. 2019 This is a critical feature on planets near their host star, which are often tidally locked, their rotation period identical to their orbit length, so that one side remains permanently oriented toward the star. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Super-Earth at a nearby star is a Mercury-like hunk of rock," 20 Aug. 2019 The feminist apartment hotel was a new type of building for urban settings, specifically oriented around the needs of working women. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The utopian ‘feminist apartment hotels’ of Charlotte Perkins Gilman," 24 July 2019 The first night, a Friday, is intended to be family oriented, Perry said. Robert Higgs, cleveland.com, "Family Unity In The Park to make return as two-day festival in July," 4 June 2019 Rather than being consumed by a general feeling of malaise, differentiators are more action oriented. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "How to Get Out of a Bad Mood," 28 May 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

31 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for orient

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

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More Definitions for orient


How to pronounce orient (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for orient

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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