Disoriented or Disorientated: Here’s the correct spelling (+10 EXAMPLES)

In the debate of disoriented vs disorientated, it might seem a little confusing at first which one is correct. When we consider American English and British English, we have to look at the differences between their choices of words to work out which case is correct for you to learn the language.

Is The Correct Spelling Disoriented Or Disorientated?

The correct spelling is both of them. Disoriented is generally used in American English, and disorientated is generally used in British English. However, both are recognized as words in the dictionary, and both have the same meanings. The only difference comes from the simplified spelling variation of the American English “disoriented.”

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Is Disorientated A Word?

Disorientated is indeed a word. It’s not common in American English (in fact, you’ll never see it as people prefer the simpler variation “disoriented”). Instead, you will see the word commonly used in British English. However, in both languages, the word still means the same things and is about general confusion (usually related to losing one’s way or sense of direction).

There are plenty of English words that have been simplified by both American and British English, but the word “disoriented” seems to have fallen through the cracks. Take “conversation,” for example. To take part in a conversation with someone in both American and British English, you would “converse” with them. “Conversate” would be an example of overcomplicating the language, which is why it isn’t used. However, the same doesn’t seem to apply to “disorientate.”

What Is The Meaning Of Disorientated?

The meaning of “disorientated” comes from losing your sense of direction or your overall idea of where you might be. If you’ve ventured out into an unknown place or taken a few too many turns down a road, you could become disorientated. If this is the case, you’ll need to figure out how to get back to where you came from. It’s often stressful for some people to be disorientated, and it is best to fix it quickly.

It stems from the topological would “orientate,” where you would follow a map to find a destination in one context. If you take the opposite of that, adding “dis-” as a prefix means you’ve lost your sense of direction. That is why British English uses it with this spelling because they prefer to keep the root word in place when they’re talking about the opposite words.

What Is The Meaning Of Disoriented?

Disoriented means much the same thing. It is the opposite of “orientate,” where someone has lost their way and needs to regain their sense of direction. However, it’s also been mentioned that to be “disoriented” is more of a sensory issue, where one could feel sick, dizzy, or generally confused. It is a lot more problematic to be “disoriented” if you think about it in this manner.

However, this isn’t the most faithful definition, and the easiest way to define both words is to say that they both mean the same thing. The only difference in spelling comes from which language you’re planning on using.

Disorienting Vs Disorientating – Which Should I Use?

Knowing which of the two words to use might look challenging at first. If you’re toying between the American English or the British English variation, we have a simple solution for you. Think about why you’re learning English firstly. If you’re learning to talk to American people, you’ll want to know the American English variant. However, if you’re learning to talk to anyone else, the British English variation is much better.

If you think about the countries in the world that speak English that isn’t the UK and the US, you’ll see a trend throughout. In countries like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada, you’ll find they all use British English to speak. The same goes for most non-English-speaking countries that are learning. They’ll typically use British English to communicate unless their situation requires an American alternative.

5 Examples Of How To Use Disoriented

Now that we’ve seen that there isn’t much difference between the two, and it depends more on your location or language choice, let’s look through some examples. We’ll first start with the American English variation “disoriented” and look at how we can use this in a sentence. You’ll soon see what we mean about the two words being similar when we cover the British English variant.

  • He was disoriented in the forest for longer than he can remember.
  • She took a wrong turn and became disoriented.
  • I was so disoriented that I had to be walked to my room.
  • We’re incredibly disoriented after the plane journey.
  • Boat rides make me disoriented.

As you can see, there was a mention of someone losing their direction in a forest or after a wrong turn, but most of the use of “disoriented” comes from a sensory feeling where someone feels unwell or needs help moving.

5 Examples Of How To Use Disorientated

We come to the British English spelling now, which has more focus on positional awareness and location. We’ll see how the situation changes (but only slightly) based on the spelling change.

  • He was disorientated as soon as he entered.
  • I’m disorientated now that I’m in the forest.
  • The maze left me disorientated after the first turn.
  • We were too disorientated to find our way.
  • I’m disorientated in this school.

Quiz: Have You Mastered The Disoriented Or Disorientated Grammar?

To finish up, we think it’s a good idea to take what we’ve learned about the slightly different words and make a quiz. We’ll test your knowledge and throw the answers in at the end to see how well you do. Don’t worry; it’s not that hard if you’ve been paying attention! Remember, the words are very similar.

  1. I was (A. disoriented / B. disorientated) after leaving the doctor.
  2. I had to go to the hospital because I felt (A. disoriented / B. disorientated).
  3. I’m (A. disoriented / B. disorientated) in this maze.
  4. She was so (A. disoriented / B. disorientated), she threw up.
  5. I feel (A. disoriented / B. disorientated) in this forest.

Quiz Answers

  1. A
  2. A
  3. B
  4. A
  5. B