Disorienting things make you feel confused. It’s disorienting each time you step out of a subway station in a big city — it takes a minute to get your bearings and figure out which direction to walk.

Waking up from the anesthetic after having your wisdom teeth removed is very disorienting, and a disorienting first day at a new school shouldn’t be surprising. The adjective disorienting comes from disorient, or “make someone lose their sense of direction,” which has a French source, désorienter, “to cause to lose one’s bearings,” or literally, “to turn from the east.”

Definitions of disorienting
  1. adjective

    causing loss of physical or intellectual bearings

    “making so many turns to the right and then the left was completely
    “a sharp blow to the head can be


    not having position or goal definitely set or ascertained

    causing confusion or disorientation

    making one feel out of place or alienated

    causing or capable of causing bewilderment or shock or insensibility

    making physically stupid or dull or insensible
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    orientating, orienting

    positioning with respect to a reference system or determining your bearings physically or intellectually
    orientated, oriented

    adjusted or located in relation to surroundings or circumstances; sometimes used in combination
    aligning, positioning

    causing to fall into line or into position

    indicating or determining size and position in space
    familiarising, familiarizing

    serving to make familiar

    orienting or directing homeward or to a destination
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