disoriented and disorientated

Disoriented or Disorientated? What’s the difference?

The English language is full of words that are spelled similarly with similar definitions. One great example of this is the words disoriented and disorientated. The two words are just as similar in spelling as they are in meaning, but how do you know when to use which word? Can they be used in place of each other?

Disorientated is often viewed as an improper word, but it is not. It is the same thing as disoriented, but it is used in the British English language instead of the American English language. That means both of these words are proper, depending on where you are.

Disoriented Meaning and Use

Disoriented means losing your sense of time, identity, or place. You will also lose the ability to think clearly and will likely become confused. Some signs that someone is disoriented may include being uncertain about things, not recognizing people they know, and believing they see things that aren’t really there.

One might become disoriented with the use of drugs or alcohol, or it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you are feeling disoriented and you haven’t been drinking, you should contact a doctor to discuss what the problem might be.

Example Sentences
She became disoriented quickly, most likely because of exhaustion and dehydration.

When you get tired, your eyes might start to hurt, and you will feel disoriented.

After you wake up from surgery, you will likely feel disoriented.

Whales become disoriented easily when they are in shallow waters.

Following several rides on the roller coaster, she became disoriented and struggled with her balance.

Disorientated Meaning and Use

Disorientated means losing your sense of direction or being unable to think clearly. Disorientated is often referred to as being incorrect, but this is not the case. It is a British English word, meaning it is more common in British countries than it is in the US.

Some symptoms of being disorientated include the inability to focus, not knowing where you are, being uncertain about your surroundings, and becoming easily agitated. This might leave you confused, delirious, or with a need to wander around.

You would become disorientated the same way you would become disoriented. This could be from alcohol, drugs, or an underlying medical condition.

Example Sentences
There were so many twists and turns in the maze, she quickly became disorientated.

When he was found after a hard fall, he was disorientated.

The majority of people become disorientated in airports because of all the terminals.

It is easy to become disorientated when you aren’t given clear directions to where you are going.

A disorientated cat stumbled its way into the garden in the middle of the night.

What is the Difference?

These two words seem to have the same meaning, so what makes them different? The main difference between the two is the origin. Disorientated is a British English word, while disoriented is an American English word. Disoriented and disorientated can be used in place of each other, but it will make more sense depending on where you are located.

Which is Correct?

Both disoriented and disorientated are correct. However, it is more common in the United States to say the word disoriented and it is more common in the British countries to say the word disorientated. That means neither word is incorrect, and they can both be used.

It is important to keep in mind that the most proper use of each word will depend on where you are at when you are saying the word. Some Americans do not know that disorientated is actually a word, and the same goes for disoriented in Britain.