Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The countries of Asia, especially of eastern Asia.
  • noun The luster characteristic of a pearl of high quality.
  • noun A pearl having exceptional luster.
  • noun Archaic The place on the horizon where the sun rises; the east.
  • adjective Having exceptional luster.
  • adjective Archaic Eastern; oriental.
  • transitive verb To align or position in a particular direction or in a particular relation to the points of the compass.
  • transitive verb To build (a church) with the nave laid out in an east-west direction and the main altar usually at the eastern end.
  • transitive verb To determine the bearings of (oneself); cause (one) to know one's position in relation to the surroundings.
  • transitive verb To make familiar with a new situation.
  • transitive verb To provide with a primary purpose or focus of attention.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • An abbreviation of orientalist.
  • To define the position of in respect to the east; ascertain the position of relative to the points of the compass; hence, to find the bearings of, in general; figuratively, to adjust or correct by referring to first principles or recognized facts or truths; take one's proper bearings mentally.
  • To place or arrange so as to face the east — that is, with its length from west to east; specifically, of a church, to place so that the chief altar is at the east end — that is, to place with the long axis east and west, the apse being toward the east, and the chief entrance at the west end; or, of a corpse, to place with the feet toward the east.
  • Hence To place or arrange, as a building, in any definite position with reference to the points of the compass: as, the episcopal cathedral of New York will be oriented north and south.
  • Rising, as the sun; ascending; arising.
  • Eastern. Also oriental.
  • Resembling the dawn in brilliancy, brightness, or purity of coloring; bright; shining; pellucid; especially, as applied to pearls, of a delicate speckless texture, and clear, almost translucent, white color with subdued iridescence: opposed to occidental.
  • noun The east; the part of the horizon where the sun first appears in the morning: opposed to Occident.
  • noun [cap. or lowercase] With the definite article, the East; Eastern countries; specifically [capitalized], the region to the east and southeast of the leading states of Europe: a vague term, including Turkey, Persia, Egypt, India, etc.
  • noun The peculiar luster of a pearl; a delicate speckless texture, with pellucid color and subdued iridescence, as in pearls of the first water.
  • noun A pearl possessing such qualities; a pearl of the first water.
  • In biology, to place (an organism) in a favorable position for study or description, or to treat it in reference to this position.
  • To place (a map or chart) in such a horizontal position that a line joining any two given points on the map shall be parallel to the line joining the corresponding points on the earth's surface; literally, to make the east direction on the map point toward the east.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The part of the horizon where the sun first appears in the morning; the east.
  • noun The countries of Asia or the East.
  • noun rare A pearl of great luster.
  • adjective Rising, as the sun.
  • adjective Eastern; oriental.
  • adjective Bright; lustrous; superior; pure; perfect; pellucid; -- used of gems and also figuratively, because the most perfect jewels are found in the East.
  • transitive verb To define the position of, in relation to the orient or east; hence, to ascertain the bearings of.
  • transitive verb To acquaint with new surroundings or a new situation.
  • transitive verb Fig.: To correct or set right by recurring to first principles; to arrange in order; to orientate.
  • transitive verb Same as Orientate, 2.
  • transitive verb (Surv.) To place (a map or chart) so that its east side, north side, etc., lie toward the corresponding parts of the horizon

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To familiarize with a situation or circumstance.
  • verb transitive To set the focus of so as to relate or appeal to a certain group.
  • verb transitive To point at or direct towards.
  • verb transitive To determine which direction one is facing.
  • verb transitive To place or build so as to face eastward.
  • verb intransitive To change direction so as to face east.
  • verb by extension To change direction to face a certain way.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb be oriented
  • verb adjust to a specific need or market
  • noun the countries of Asia
  • verb familiarize (someone) with new surroundings or circumstances
  • noun the hemisphere that includes Eurasia and Africa and Australia
  • verb determine one's position with reference to another point

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin oriēns, orient-, rising sun, east, from present participle of orīrī, to arise, be born; see er- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English orient, from Old French orient, from Latin oriens ("rising; as a noun, the quarter where the sun rises, the east, day"), present participle of oriri ("to rise").

Examples

  • American commentators continue to object to orientate (used more frequently by the British), mainly because orient is shorter but also because the figurative use is outstripping the literal one.

    July « 2009 « Sentence first

  • And after Rabanus, these four be signified by the four parts of the world, by the orient, that is east, the apostles; by the south, the martyrs; by the north, the confessors; and by the west, the virgins.

    The Golden Legend, vol. 6

  • Google: one would have to compare the verb in an unabmbiguous phrase; "orient" without any qualification will mostly be the noun.

    On being orient(at)ed

  • “Delicious” is not a typical Korean family name, but I changed my name to protect the innocent from shame by association, and when it comes down to evidence of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual asianation some yellow folks are offended by "orient", it has nothing to do with my birth certificate.

    Kimchee, Like A-1, Goes with Everything

  • BROWN: Just to help our viewers kind of orient themselves, you were on the 65th floor of a building that is how many stories?

    CNN Transcript Sep 11, 2001

  • The committee, which visited reform schools, schools of industry and places of safety, said isolation cells were widely used as punishment, and were also used to "orient" new children at some institutions.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • In using concepts of his own to discredit the theoretic claims of concepts generally, Bergson does not contradict, but on the contrary emphatically illustrates his own view of their practical role, for they serve in his hands only to 'orient' us, to show us to what quarter we must _practically turn_ if we wish to gain that completer insight into reality which he denies that they can give.

    A Pluralistic Universe Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College on the Present Situation in Philosophy

  • Such strong native sense had they, such innate refinement and courtesythe product, it used to be said, of plain living and high thinking -- that, ignorant as they might be of civic ways, they would, upon being introduced to them, need only a brief space of time to "orient" themselves to the new circumstances.

    Complete Essays

  • Such strong native sense had they, such innate refinement and courtesythe product, it used to be said, of plain living and high thinking -- that, ignorant as they might be of civic ways, they would, upon being introduced to them, need only a brief space of time to "orient" themselves to the new circumstances.

    Nine Short Essays

  • Such strong native sense had they, such innate refinement and courtesythe product, it used to be said, of plain living and high thinking -- that, ignorant as they might be of civic ways, they would, upon being introduced to them, need only a brief space of time to "orient" themselves to the new circumstances.

    The Complete Project Gutenberg Writings of Charles Dudley Warner

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