c. 1300, "the East" (originally usually meaning what is now called the Middle East), 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). The Orient Express was a train that ran from Paris to Istanbul via Vienna 1883-1961, from the start associated with espionage and intrigue.
c. 1727, originally "to arrange facing 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 "determine bearings" first attested 1842; figurative sense is from 1850. Related: Oriented; orienting.
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