verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to lose one’s way: The strange streets disoriented him.
  2. to confuse by removing or obscuring something that has guided a person, group, or culture, as customs, moral standards, etc.: Society has been disoriented by changing values.
  3. Psychiatry. to cause to lose perception of time, place, or one’s personal identity.

1650s, from French désorienter “to cause to lose one’s bearings,” literally “to turn from the east,” from dés- (see dis-) + orienter (see orient (v.)). Related: Disoriented; disorienting.

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