[dis-awr-ee-uh n-teyt, -ohr-]

verb (used with object), dis·o·ri·en·tat·ed, dis·o·ri·en·tat·ing.

Origin of disorientate

First recorded in 1695–1705; dis-1 + orientate
Related formsdis·o·ri·en·ta·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disorientation

Contemporary Examples of disorientation

  • During the height of the crisis, Westergaard described the disorientation and dislocation of living under guard.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Repentant Radical

    Michael Moynihan

    September 17, 2013

  • Evident in Twilight Visions is the disorientation between the changing physical city and its effect on cultural habits.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Dreaming of Paris

    Philip Gefter

    January 28, 2010

Historical Examples of disorientation

  • The sense of disorientation set up by the tractors was subsiding.

    Alarm Clock

    Everett B. Cole

  • This morning, however, the sense of disorientation did not pass with full wakefulness.

    Monkey On His Back

    Charles V. De Vet

  • There was an elusive sense of disorientation, a feeling of something overlooked.

    The Short Life

    Francis Donovan

  • The feeling of disorientation and foreignness was new to Perry.


    Cory Doctorow

  • Disorientation is a state of mental confusion as to time, place, or identity.

British Dictionary definitions for disorientation



verb (tr)

to cause (someone) to lose his bearings
to perplex; confuse
Derived Formsdisorientation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for disorientation

1860; see dis- + orientation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for disorientation




Loss of one's sense of direction, position, or relationship with one's surroundings.
A temporary or permanent state of confusion regarding place, time, or personal identity.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.