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[dis-awr-ee-ent, -ohr-] /dɪsˈɔr iˌɛnt, -ˈoʊr-/
verb (used with object)
to cause to lose one's way:
The strange streets disoriented him.
to confuse by removing or obscuring something that has guided a person, group, or culture, as customs, moral standards, etc.:
Society has been disoriented by changing values.
Psychiatry. to cause to lose perception of time, place, or one's personal identity.
Origin of disorient
1645-55; < French désorienter, equivalent to dés- dis-1 + orienter to orient Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for disorienting
  • The effects of instability and discord can be truly disorienting.
  • It can be terribly disorienting in a blizzard that's come from nowhere.
  • The collision of tradition and modernity in the community can be disorienting.
  • It is disorienting both because of dark and bright juxtapositions and the discontinuities in the diurnal motion.
  • It can be disorienting and strange to think about retirement when you begin your academic career.
  • It is incredibly sad yet disorienting and destructive dealing with these people.
  • Otherwise the angles do not line up and a disorienting jumble results.
  • The future will bring exciting, disorienting change as electronic communication reaches ever deeper into everyone's life.
  • Simply entering or leaving one of the trailers is tremendously disorienting.
  • The weapons included microwave guns, sonic cannons, and disorienting laser strobes.
Word Origin and History for disorienting



1650s, from French désorienter "to cause to lose one's bearings," literally "to turn from the east," from dés- (see dis-) + orienter (see orient (v.)). Related: Disoriented; disorienting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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