orient vs. orientation
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I'm looking for insights into the choice of ''orientate'' over ''orient''
by a fairly polished writer of British English who is probably also fluent
in (at least) French and Italian. In particular, I'm looking for historical
As everyone knows, ''orient'' is the standard verbal root and stem of
''orientation'', and ''orientate'' is a backformation; but a quick sampling
of bilingual dictionaries with English and another European langauge shows
a preference for ''orientate.'' The OED says that ''orient'' has been
around longer, but it seems to me that at some time & place, ''orientate''
may have been standard.
I'd like to know if ''orientate'' was standard at some time in British
English (and if possible, precisely when and where), or whether a
preference for ''orientate'' might come from another major European
language. French and Italian don't have the ''-ate'' suffix on this word,
and German has ''-ieren''; the only alternative explanation that occurs to
me is that this is a leftover from the author's schoolboy Latin.
San Diego State Univ.
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