One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Capable of being oriented.
2Mathematics. Of a surface: such that an oriented figure, when moved around any closed path in the surface, returns to its initial position with the same orientation; not non-orientable; (more widely, of a manifold) capable of being assigned a well-defined global coordinate system.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in The Times. From orient + -able.
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