Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What are the differences in usage between disbalanced and unbalanced?

share|improve this question
2  
While we're at it, how does 'imbalanced' fit into the picture? –  Jordaan Mylonas Oct 5 '11 at 6:15

3 Answers 3

Well, "disbalanced" apparently is not a currently used English word. It existed but it's not used anymore, since it doesn't appear in the OALD, nor in the NOAD. And when I was editing your question my browser signalled it as "wrong".

Unbalanced is used when you want to define something as not equally distributed, to define a person as mentally ill or disturbed or when someone is "giving too much or too little importance to one part or aspect of something". [OALD]

share|improve this answer
    
Oh why the -1? If someone thinks this answer is wrong or not useful, you can directly post a comment about it. –  Alenanno Oct 5 '11 at 18:21
    
It is an English word. See below. –  Barrie England Oct 5 '11 at 19:19
    
@BarrieEngland Corrected. –  Alenanno Oct 5 '11 at 19:57
    
Voted up again :) –  Barrie England Oct 5 '11 at 20:04

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has an entry for disbalance, meaning to disturb the balance or equilibrium of, to put out of balance. Its derived adjective disbalanced is also included, with a citation from 1885. I'm not surprised that it's not to be found in Alenanno's sources, as it must be rare now, if not exactly obsolete.

Unbalanced is defined in the OED as not balanced or equably poised.

share|improve this answer

unbalanced means something is not currently balanced and has never been IN balance;

disbalanced indicates something which is not currently balanced but WAS in balance at some point.

share|improve this answer
    
You should include the relative non-use of disbalance in any definition. As you portray it, it sounds like a word in use. –  virmaior May 17 at 12:13
    
@virmaior: try Google books for recent examples though the names of many of the authors suggest English might not be their first language –  Henry Aug 12 at 20:59
    
@Henry - made my comment after looking at the ngram. –  virmaior Aug 12 at 22:26
    
The ngram is very strange as it tells me 'Search for "disbalanced" yielded only one result' even though it then gives me over 200 examples –  Henry Aug 12 at 22:56

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.