can’t see the forest

I Dislike the Word ‘Orientate’. . .

Posted in English, Grammar, writing by Curtis on 11/26/06

. . .basically because there’s no reason for it to exist.

To orientate is to orient.
To say one is well-orientated is to say that one is well-oriented.

In the nautical sense, to orient is to face eastward. Somehow this verb came to mean ‘to get one’s bearings’ generally.

There is no need for the word ‘orientate’ or any of its transformations. Why impose an extra, awkward-sounding syllable? The noun form ‘orientation’ is common. So is ‘exultation.’ Exultation is the act of exulting; there is no such thing as exultating. Likewise, there should be no such thing as orientating. An orientation orients.

Baaaaaaaaaah!

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6 Responses

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  1. peoplesgeography said, on 11/26/06 at 3:01 am

    So do I! Well noted. ;)

  2. raincoaster said, on 11/26/06 at 6:38 am

    Agreed. It is a loathesome little closeted bureaucrat of a word, the kind of word that goes home every night and molests vowels in its mother’s basement. A nasty, nasty word.

  3. Julaybib said, on 11/26/06 at 7:40 am

    I think you need to spend some time perspectivating! ;-)

  4. Curtis said, on 11/26/06 at 8:54 am

    Absolutistically.

  5. zilla said, on 11/28/06 at 8:21 am

    “Agreed. It is a loathesome little closeted bureaucrat of a word, the kind of word that goes home every night and molests vowels in its mother’s basement. A nasty, nasty word.”

    Who is this raincoaster, and why have I not met him or her yet?

    Just wanted to say that until now, I had no idea “orientate” appeared in any dictionary anywhere and always assumed that anyone saying “orientate” as opposed to “orient” to be a blithering fool not worthy of being taken seriously.

    You know what else I hate? The verbification of the noun, “impact.” I realize that language is a living, evolving animal, but it doesn’t have to turn into a monster, does it?


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