One evening after the children were in bed we found ourselves with a rare quiet moment to sit around and talk.
In the course of our conversation Justin was telling us a story about an acquaintance of his.
"This guy is just so unorganized, that...." And the story went on, but I got nanosecondtarily mentally snagged on the word "unorganized", which is one of those words that don't make a smooth landing on my ear drum.
Hearing "unorganized" used in place of "disorganized" always sounds to me not exactly wrong, but just a bit ambiguously off, like a G chord played in a piano piece where a G7 chord would really nail the melody.
And yet it seems that I rarely hear the word "disorganized" used anymore. All I ever hear people using is "unorganized".
So as soon as Justin finished his story I ran these queries by him and the others:
Are "disorganized" and "unorganized" synonymous?
If not, then what's the difference in their meanings?
Is it along the lines of, say, "unqualified", which means one never was qualified, vs. "disqualified", which means one was qualified at one time but no longer is?
You wouldn't believe how long we threw around the conundrum of "unorganized" vs. "disorganized".
Finally the general consensus seemed to be that to be "unorganized" means that, maybe for lack of time, for example, one simply hasn't yet gotten around to organizing something that needs to be organized, whereas "disorganized" means lacking the ability to organize what needs to be organized. In other words, "unorganized" is a temporary state and "disorganized" is an ingrained character trait.
But that was just what we came up with.
Then last night Tommy and Randy were over hanging around in the family room while I was writing this, so I stopped to ask them what they thought about the "disorganized" - "unorganized" question, since I wasn't one hundred percent sure we'd lassoed the definitive meanings of the two words back when Maria, Justin, Tom and I chased them 'round.
Randy and Tommy both liked the "unqualified" - "disqualified" comparison and thought that the same applicaton clarified the "unorganized" - "disorganized" matter well enough,
Here are the meanings offered by the online Merriam Webster Dictionary:
disorganized: not properly planned and controlled; not able to keep things arranged in a neat or effective way.
unorganized: not organized.*
*Which "disorganized" actually falls under in the broad sense, right?
He then consulted another site which defines "disorganized" as a trait belonging to a person with an inability to be organized, while "unorganized" refers to the state of a place or activity that was not yet organized but had the potential to be organized. On the other hand, an entity such as committee could go from being unorganized to organized but could be disorganized at the same time if the people running the organized committee were disorganized.
But again, that was just one person's opinion.
Still I feel like we're all a little closer.
Now all I have to figure out is whether I'm unorganized or disorganized.