[ awr-ee-uhn-tey-shuhn, -en-, ohr- ]
See synonyms for orientation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act or process of orienting.

  2. the state of being oriented.

  1. an introduction, as to guide one in adjusting to new surroundings, employment, activity, or the like: New employees receive two days of orientation.

  2. Psychology, Psychiatry. the ability to locate oneself in one's environment with reference to time, place, and people.

  3. one's position in relation to true north, to points on the compass, or to a specific place or object.

  4. the ascertainment of one's true position, as in a novel situation, with respect to attitudes, judgments, etc.

  5. Chemistry.

    • the relative positions of certain atoms or groups, especially in aromatic compounds.

    • the determination of the position of substituted atoms or groups in a compound.

Origin of orientation

First recorded in 1830–40; orientate + -ion

Other words from orientation

  • o·ri·en·ta·tive, adjective
  • non·o·ri·en·ta·tion, noun

Words Nearby orientation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use orientation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for orientation


/ (ˌɔːrɪɛnˈteɪʃən) /

  1. the act or process of orienting or the state of being oriented

  2. position or positioning with relation to the points of the compass or other specific directions

  1. the adjustment or alignment of oneself or one's ideas to surroundings or circumstances

  2. Also called: orientation course mainly US and Canadian

    • a course, programme, lecture, etc, introducing a new situation or environment

    • (as modifier): an orientation talk

  3. psychol the knowledge of one's own temporal, social, and practical circumstances in life

  4. basic beliefs or preferences: sexual orientation

  5. biology the change in position of the whole or part of an organism in response to a stimulus, such as light

  6. chem the relative dispositions of atoms, ions, or groups in molecules or crystals

  7. the siting of a church on an east-west axis, usually with the altar at the E end

Derived forms of orientation

  • orientational, adjective

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