I know disposition means a persons inherent qualities of mind and character and it is a noun. i know you would say "he has a very quiet brooding disposition" but my roommate was cleaning the house and said, "will you help me move the table? I don't want to slide it and disposition the rug."

i told him using disposition in that context was wrong and we argued. i felt he should've used reposition instead of disposition. using disposition he would've said "can you help me move the table so as to not affect the disposition of the rug"

can you use disposition as a verb or is it strictly a noun?


I think the word you may be seeking is displace.

I do not wish to displace the rug.


I'll bet that your roommate based his argument on analogy to reposition, which does indeed serve as a verb in everyday English. Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) also has an entry for reposition as a noun ("the act of repositing : the state of being reposited"), but in my experience that form of the word isn't common.

I agree with WS2 that you're better off using displace (or for that matter, move) than making disposition a verb. I also advise against using imposition and composition as verbs, even though you could probably come up with a rationale for doing so.

  • or a slip from the word misposition – Oldcat Oct 31 '14 at 22:35
  • Good point, Oldcat. Also, if the speaker wanted to coin a new term, de-position might be a better word choice than dis-position in spoken English, since it sounds less like a homophone of deposition than dis-position does of disposition. – Sven Yargs Oct 31 '14 at 23:20

Since this was spoken, I expect that your roommate actually said "dis-position", which is a negative form of the verb "position"; this negative form would mean "to move something away from its preferred or customary location. A perfectly understandable use of the standard productive prefix dis-; the fact that it produces a word that sounds identical but has a different meaning is unfortunate, but does not render the utterance incomprehensible.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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