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definition of the word -ize

by the Wiktionnary

From Ancient Greek -ιζειν (izein) via Latin -izare. Also see notes.


  1. Used to form verbs from nouns or adjectives, the verbs having the sense of "to make what is denoted by the noun/adjective".

The suffix -ise seems to be prevalent in Commonwealth countries except Canada (especially in Australia and New Zealand), with -ize found especially in scientific or academic contexts.

The suffix -ize, although commonly misconstrued as an Americanism, has always been a part of the English language. It was formerly used by The Times and other publications and is and always has been used by both Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary. The use of -ise in place of -ize in the United Kingdom, and later elsewhere, came about in the 19th century under French influence; at the same time, through the efforts of Noah Webster and others, the -ize became standard in American English for words where both endings were previously accepted. The steady shift in the opposite direction for Commonwealth countries even after the 19th century may have been to distinguish themselves from American English.

The line between -ize and -ise depends on etymology; for instance, verbs ending in -vise, -tise, -cise, and -prise do not derive from Greek -ιζειν and therefore are never spelled with -ize. One notable and oft-cited exception is analyse, where the -yze ending is found normally only in the U.S. and Canada. Another exception is recognize, which is spelled with -ize in the U.S. and elsewhere despite not having the -ιζειν suffix etymologically.

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