With the Passing of Time

Orientate

Posted on: April 26, 2008

orientate
\OR-ee-un-tayt\ | verb

1 : to set in a definite position especially in relation the points of the compass
2 : to acquaint with an existing situation or environment
3 : to direct toward the interests of a particular group

I am far from an Anglophile but I do watch a lot of British television. BBC America just seems to have more entertaining programs than regular TV; I have digital cable just to make sure I can see Britsh shows every day of the week and not just wait for Masterpiece Theater or Mystery or the BritComs on Saturday night.

So it is fitting once again that I get this word today. It’s nice to see that even though some British phrases have slipped into my vocabulary, I still respond to written English like the American I am. I saw ‘orientate’ and immediately said “That’s not a word. That’s one of those made up words uneducated people use who want to sound intelligent, like conversate.” So how funny that everywhere I look on the Web it basically says it is used more often in British English but considered an error in the US. Thank the good lord. Throwing in extra syllables makes absolutely no sense to me.

I have a similar response to the now common habit of using ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use’ all the damn time. “We used the Vulcan death grip to subdue our captors” means exactly the same thing as “We utilized the Vulcan death grip” except it now seems to be standard to use the longer, unnecessary word everywhere (or as some of you would prefer (to utitilize the longer word; see how ridiculous that is). I don’t care if I’m the last holdout for ‘used’ on this planet. To quote the late, insane “thank god he’s gone” Charlton Heston, you’ll have to pry ‘use’ “from my cold dead hands.”

The first non-definition or grammar site for ‘orientate’ is in fact from a British Web site: 10 ways to orientate users on your site.

And the first picture is of a horse race.

orientate pic

You have to scroll down about half way to see the article the picture is from ($400,000 Orientate at Kneeneland).

Nothing much here. The Web site? Fits with my job. The picture? I love horses. Like I said, nothing much. But I have a feeling out of my mini-English rant, something about Web usage and horses, the one that will inspire something today will be the horses.

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Willingness to join soil, sound, hands; memory follows me ~ Viggo Mortensen
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Credits

Daily words come from Merriam-Webster's word of the day. All rambling comes from my head.

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