First Phoenix 0.4 Articles Roll In
Wednesday October 30th, 2002
1. That's a descriptive, not a proscriptive dictionary. 2. The quote is from John LeCarre/, not exactly my ideal of a prose stylist.
2. The OED citation would be more authoritative. However, I wouldn't agree with the OED citation (I have the same education many of the OED lexicographers do, so I'm not just talking out of my you know what.) Orientated is a back-formation from "orient" > "orientation." The "orientate" form originates with ignorance of how Latin participals are formed.
Despite my opinion, here's another professional lexicographer's opinion:
'On the orient-orientate debate -- the words have identical meanings but orientate is sometimes objected to -- he says that he has somewhat arbitrarily decided to use the former himself, but "one can have no fundamental quarrel" with the longer form.'
The author, Mr. Burchfield, is the current editor of Fowler's Modern English Usage. So while I may (with good reason, I think) disagree with Mr. Burchfield's opinion, and that of the OED lexicographer who described them as equivalent, Alex is right that they are considered equivalent by most relevant authorities.