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Is orientate interchangeable with orient?

Orient is the word to use; orientate is a silly variant. Orient means (literally) 'to turn and face the east' and 'to locate east and so adjust to the compass directions' and (figuratively) 'to put oneself in the right position or relation' and 'to set right by adjusting'. The longer variant, a back-formation from orientation, seems to prevail in common figurative use and has existed since around 1849. This has unfortunately also given rise to disorientated when the historically correct form is disoriented. Here are some examples of how to use orient: These men will help to orient and determine the general course of party policies. The building is oriented north and south. Once a map has been oriented, an orienteer should be aware of his position at all times by relating the map to the ground over which he is moving. The program is oriented toward the students becoming teachers.

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