Thursday, January 31, 2008

What's The Deal With Dis-orientated?

This is a re-run of an entry I made in my main journal.  I thought it would fit well here:

Feeling Dis-orientated

I recently re-read (actually listened to the audio book of...) Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James and was reminded of a word that bugs the heck out of me -- disorientated.  I don't know why, but it just doesn't sound right.  The first time I saw it in print I thought it was a misprint.  But I looked it up and it is actually a word.  It means, of course, to "cause to be lost or disoriented", and the literal meaning is to "turn away from the East or (figuratively) from the right or the truth", thus the "orient" portion of the word, as in "oriental".  (Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.)

I have no problem with the word disoriented, but disorientated makes my mouth feel funny!  And if reading the word was bad, listening to it being read on the audio book was even worse.  Made my head spin every time I heard it.  And I think P.D. James uses it at least a half dozen times in that book.

Oh well.  I'll get over it.  Isn't it funny how some words just bug you or make your tongue feel funny when you try to say them?  I do love P.D. James, though, and Death in Holy Orders is probably my favorite Adam Dalgliesh story.  Love those "who-done-its."


P.S. I just checked my OED of English Etymology, 1966 and found this interesting note about the word "orient": " so as to face the east ...; determine the bearings of; ...ascertain one's bearings ...So, by extension with -ATE, orientate; prob. after orientaTION; situation so as to face east (of a church, east and west), bearing or lie of a thing, determination of bearings...." 
But the word "disorientate" doesn't appear in this book.
P.P.S.  Tag, Guido, you're it.


fremoris said...

    Actually, disorientated is a very nice military or factory sort of word.  Both of those occupations/places tend to clobber conventional language with their innovative pronunciations.  My favorite is the factory rendition of “column.”  Always, without exception, they will say something that sounds like “cowl’ yoom).  And “maintenance” will come out as “main tain’ nance.”

Uncle Bill

cayasm said...

I found this post interesting I understand your feeling on the word Disorientated, its funny because thats exactly the way I pronounce it, instead of the shortened disoriented, which feels strange when I say it.

I used to read P.D. James , and they had an excellent TV adaptation of her books shown years ago.


Another question, this always irritates me when I hear it, in Britain we always say "Herbal" and when I hear people from the US it always sounds like "Erbal or Erbs why is the H silent but in spelling the H is always used, or is it just  a slang thats used?

manda2177 said...

I have had the same feeling about words, but of course, I cannot remember what words If elt that way about.

But this is food for thought! LOL

God bless-

manda2177 said...

OH YEAH!  ONe more question for you....and please take your time....

In a closing, when I say God bless...should I write it God BLess?  Or God bless?  If I capitolize the bless, does that take signifigance away from Capitolizing God?
That has always bugged me....


God bless! ;)

gdireneoe said...

How about this one?  Bloviated.  Is that a real word?  Someone I know (and try really hard to not correct) has recently begun to use this word.  Tons.  Oy vay...;)  C.