[awr-ee-uh n-tey-shuh n, -en-, ohr-]
  1. the act or process of orienting.
  2. the state of being oriented.
  3. an introduction, as to guide one in adjusting to new surroundings, employment, activity, or the like: New employees receive two days of orientation.
  4. Psychology, Psychiatry. the ability to locate oneself in one's environment with reference to time, place, and people.
  5. one's position in relation to true north, to points on the compass, or to a specific place or object.
  6. the ascertainment of one's true position, as in a novel situation, with respect to attitudes, judgments, etc.
  7. Chemistry.
    1. the relative positions of certain atoms or groups, especially in aromatic compounds.
    2. the determination of the position of substituted atoms or groups in a compound.

Origin of orientation

First recorded in 1830–40; orientate + -ion
Related formso·ri·en·ta·tive, adjectivenon·o·ri·en·ta·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for orientative


  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
  3. the adjustment or alignment of oneself or one's ideas to surroundings or circumstances
  4. Also called: orientation course mainly US and Canadian
    1. a course, programme, lecture, etc, introducing a new situation or environment
    2. (as modifier)an orientation talk
  5. psychol the knowledge of one's own temporal, social, and practical circumstances in life
  6. basic beliefs or preferencessexual orientation
  7. biology the change in position of the whole or part of an organism in response to a stimulus, such as light
  8. chem the relative dispositions of atoms, ions, or groups in molecules or crystals
  9. the siting of a church on an east-west axis, usually with the altar at the E end
Derived Formsorientational, 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

Word Origin and History for orientative



1839, originally "arrangement of a building, etc., to face east or any other specified direction," noun of action from orient (v.). Sense of "action of determining one's bearings" is from 1868. Meaning "introduction to a situation" is from 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

orientative in Medicine


  1. The act of orienting or the state of being oriented.
  2. Location or position relative to the points of the compass.
  3. The relative position of one atom with respect to another to which it is connected.
  4. Sexual orientation.
  5. Introductory instruction concerning a new situation.
  6. Awareness of the objective world in relation to one's self.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.