Ok, so this probably isn’t a major concern to a lot of you, but it’s something that bugged me when I was researching and reading articles to help my own social awkwardness. Is it extravert or extrovert?
Just there I see my spell checker has flagged “extravert” as being misspelt. But is this right? I believe the first version I came across was extrovert, but that never really sat well with me. In the context of being the opposite of “introvert”, I suppose extrovert does sound nicer. So is that the end of it? Extrovert sounds better when paired with introvert, I encountered it first, and my spell checker surely can’t be wrong, can it?
Let’s take a closer look at the prefixes of these words. I’m not going into great detail here as it involves going into latin definitions and I get bored even typing the word “latin”, so this is going to be brief.
Intro – means inwardly, or within. This makes sense, it’s a prefix we are familiar with and fits with what an introvert is.
Extra – means outside or beyond. This prefix is recognised as the opposite of “Intro”
Extro – means, well, the same as extra. It is an alias meaning the same thing.
So which to use – extravert or extrovert?
These terms are interchangeable. They are both derived from latin, using prefixes that are aliases of each other to create two new words which both mean the same. I personally prefer to use Extravert as I think “extra” is the purist way of imposing “intro”. I suspect the term “extrovert” was conceived only to sit nicely alongside introvert. It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice it has now led to two words that mean the same and can be confusing to others.
Extravert or extrovert? I’d stick with extravert!
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As a personality trainer and Certified Life Coach, I use the terms extravert and introvert all the time. Because most of our modern personality systems come from Carl Jung’s studies and he has been quoted saying that “extrovert is bad Latin,” my vote is – follow the leader.