get one's bearings(redirected from get bearings)
get (one's) bearings
To recognize or determine one's orientation, position, or abilities relative to one's surroundings or situation. We need to get above the tree line if we're going to get our bearings and reach the campsite before dark. It took me a little while to get my bearings in the new office, but after a week, I felt as if I'd been working there for years.
get one's bearings
Also, find one's bearings. Figure out one's position or situation relative to one's surroundings. For example, She's still new to the company and needs time to find her bearings, or I'll be along soon; just wait till I get my bearings. Naturally, one can also lose one's bearings, as in After we missed the turnpike exit, we completely lost our bearings. These phrases use bearings in the sense of "relative position," a usage dating from the 1600s.