I have this day decided how much I like “deranged.”
Denotations of “to derange” derive straightaway from French roots that yield in English such words as “rank,” “arrange,” and the like. “Derange” is a syllable shorter than “disorder” or “disarrange” or “disarray.”
But I prefer the connotations and the pseudo-etymology I can imagine for “deranged.” Many things may be “disordered,” “disarranged,” or “disarrayed,” but “deranged” usually modifies mentalities or minds. I like to imagine that to call someone “deranged” is to say that he or she has ranged beyond behavioral norms. A range of behaviors, expressions, and states of mind is normal. Beyond the expected or predictable maxima or minima, a fellow human is going to extremes. He or she is out of bounds, beyond reason, manic or depressed — outside the range.
This permits one who wields “deranged” a safe escape into idiosyncratic usage, sort of like Dershowitz and Palin with “blood libel.” It’s a dodge. That’s what I enjoy about it.
Orwell, I suspect, would hate this dodgy device.