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See also: Orient




A 1635 map of the orient (sense 1) or Asia by Willem Blaeu
The sunrise seen in the orient (sense 2) or east direction from Aci Castello, Sicily, Italy

The noun is derived from Middle English orient, oriente, oryent, oryente, oryentte (the east direction; eastern horizon or sky; eastern regions of the world, Asia, Orient; eastern edge of the world),[1] borrowed from Anglo-Norman orient, oriente, and Old French orient (east direction; Asia, Orient) (modern French orient), or directly from its etymon Latin oriēns (the east; daybreak, dawn; sunrise; (participle) rising; appearing; originating), present active participle of orior (to get up, rise; to appear, become visible; to be born, come to exist, originate), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃er- (to move, stir; to rise, spring).[2]

The adjective is derived from Middle English orient (eastern; from Asia or the Orient; brilliant, shining (characteristic of jewels from the Orient)), from Middle English orient (noun); see above.[3]

The verb is derived from French orienter (to orientate; to guide; to set to north) from French orient (noun) (see above) + -er (suffix forming infinitives of first-conjugation verbs).[4]



orient (plural orients)

  1. Usually preceded by the: alternative letter-case form of Orient (a region or a part of the world to the east of a certain place; countries of Asia, the East (especially East Asia)) [from 14th c.]
    Antonym: occident
  2. The part of the horizon where the sun first appears in the morning; the east.
  3. (obsolete) A pearl originating from the Indian region, reputed to be of great brilliance; (by extension) any pearl of particular beauty and value. [19th c.]
  4. (by extension) The brilliance or colour of a high-quality pearl.


orient (not comparable)

  1. (dated, poetic, also figuratively) Rising, like the morning sun.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book V”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 175–176:
      Moon, that now meetſt the orient sun, now fli'ſt / With the fixt Starrs, fixt in thir Orb that flies, [...]
  2. (dated, poetic) Of the colour of the sky at daybreak; bright red.
    Synonym: Orient red
  3. (obsolete except poetic) Of, facing, or located in the east; eastern, oriental.
    Antonym: occidental
  4. (obsolete except poetic) Of a pearl or other gem: of great brilliance and value; (by extension) bright, lustrous.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:shining
    • 1589, Ralph Lane, “An Account of the Peculiarities of the Imployments of the English Men Left in Virginia by Sir Richard Greeneuill vnder the Charge of Master Ralfe Lane General of the same, from the 17. of August, 1585, vntill the 18. of Iune 1586, at which Time They Departed the Countrie: [...]”, in Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, [], imprinted at London: By George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, deputies to Christopher Barker, printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majestie, OCLC 753964576, 1st part (Declaring the Particularities of the Countrey of Virginia), page 739:
      [...] He gaue me a rope of the ſame Pearle, but they were blacke, and naught, yet many of them were very great, and a fewe amongſt a number very orient and round, [...]
    • (Can we date this quote?) Jeremy Taylor
      pearls round and orient
    • (Can we date this quote?) Wordsworth
      orient gems
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      orient liquor in a crystal glass


orient (third-person singular simple present orients, present participle orienting, simple past and past participle oriented) (commonly US)

  1. (transitive) To build or place (something) so as to face eastward.
  2. (transitive, by extension) To align or place (a person or object) so that his, her, or its east side, north side, etc., is positioned toward the corresponding points of the compass; (specifically, surveying) to rotate (a map attached to a plane table) until the line of direction between any two of its points is parallel to the corresponding direction in nature.
    Synonym: orientate (commonly Britain)
  3. (transitive) To direct towards or point at a particular direction.
    Synonym: orientate (commonly Britain)
    The workers oriented all the signs to face the road.
  4. (transitive, reflexive) To determine which direction one is facing.
    Let me just orient myself and we can be on our way.
  5. (transitive, often reflexive, figuratively) To familiarize (oneself or someone) with a circumstance or situation.
    Synonym: orientate (commonly Britain)
    Antonyms: disorient, disorientate
    Give him time to orient himself within the new hierarchy.
  6. (transitive, figuratively) To set the focus of (something) so as to appeal or relate to a certain group.
    We will orient our campaign to the youth who are often disinterested.
  7. (intransitive) To change direction to face a certain way.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ orient(e, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 11 June 2019.
  2. ^ Compare “orient, n. and adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2004; “orient” in Lexico,; Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ orient, adj.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 11 June 2019.
  4. ^ orient, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2004.

Further readingEdit




Borrowed from Latin oriens, orientem.



orient m (plural orients)

  1. Orient
  2. east

Old FrenchEdit


orient m (nominative singular orienz or orientz)

  1. Alternative form of oriant



Borrowed from French orient, Latin oriens, orientem.


orient n (uncountable)

  1. east, Orient


Related termsEdit