Oriented vs. Orientated

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Mar 29 23:04:39 UTC 2001

In a message dated 03/29/2001 2:13:25 PM Eastern Standard Time,
Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM writes (quoting me):

> >I can think of two hypotheses to explain Irwin's wording, neither of
>  >which leads to a general rule or classification.
>  >
>  >Hypothesis 1: Irwin was familiar with the noun "orientation" but not
>  >with the less common verb "to orient".  Wishing to come up with the
>  >verb, he created "to orientate" as an ad-hoc back-formation.

Having  managed to start this thread on "ad hoc" versus whatever, I shall
attempt to kill it.

Scientific American (April 2001 page 25) ran an interview with Steve Irwin.
A more complete text of the interview can be found at URL

Irwin, per the Scientific American article, is a professional outdoorsman who
undoubtedly has had numerous occasions in his career to think about, and
sometimes discuss, "orientation" in the sense of "getting one's bearings"
(applied both to himself and to various crocodiles and other colleages of Mr.
Irwin).  Hence he has had frequent occasion to use a verb corresponding to
"orientation" and presumably has long since decided on "to orientate" rather
than "to orient".  By the time he made the quote cited on ADS-L, he had long
established a habit of which word to use, whether or not it is correct and/or
documentated (documented?) in the OED.  Therefore this particular usage was
in no way shape or form an "ad hoc" creation.

      - Jim Landau

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