orient (n.)

late 14c., "the direction east; the part of the horizon where the sun first appears," also (now with capital O-) "the eastern regions of the world, eastern countries" (originally vaguely meaning the region east and south of Europe, what is now called the Middle East but also sometimes Egypt and India), from Old French orient "east" (11c.), from Latin orientem (nominative oriens) "the rising sun, the east, part of the sky where the sun rises," originally "rising" (adj.), present participle of oriri "to rise" (see origin).

Meaning "a pearl of the first water" is by 1831, short for pearl of the Orient (late 14c.) originally meaning one from the Indian seas. Hence also the meaning "a delicate iridescence, the peculiar luster of a fine pearl" (1755). The Orient Express was a train that ran from Paris to Istanbul via Vienna 1883-1961, from the start it was associated with espionage and intrigue.

orient (v.)

by 1741, "to arrange (something) so as to face east," from French s'orienter "to take one's bearings," literally "to face the east" (also the source of German orientierung), from Old French orient "east," from Latin orientum (see orient (n.)). Extended meaning "place or arrange in any definite position with reference to the points of the compass" is by 1842; the figurative sense, with reference to new situations or ideas, is by 1850. Related: Oriented; orienting.

updated on September 25, 2019

Definitions of orient from WordNet
orient (v.)
be oriented;
Synonyms: point
orient (v.)
determine one's position with reference to another point;
We had to orient ourselves in the forest
Synonyms: orientate
orient (v.)
cause to point;
orient (v.)
familiarize (someone) with new surroundings or circumstances;
The dean of students tries to orient the freshmen
orient (v.)
adjust to a specific need or market;
a magazine oriented towards young people
Synonyms: tailor
orient (n.)
the hemisphere that includes Eurasia and Africa and Australia;
Synonyms: eastern hemisphere
Orient (n.)
the countries of Asia;
Synonyms: East
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.