Welcome to the fourth in our ongoing series …
Introducing, Verbalized … a new section in which we will grammaticalize (est. origin 1935-40) the modern use of the suffix “-ize” to make (traditionally) non-verbs into verbs.
Let’s get some of the technical stuff out of the way first … per dictionary.com:
- to convert into a verb: Many English nouns have become verbalized.
-ize a verb-forming suffix occurring originally in loanwords from Greek that have entered English through Latin or French (baptize; barbarize; catechize); within English, -ize is added to adjectives and nouns to form transitive verbs with the general senses “to render, make” (actualize; fossilize; sterilize; Americanize), “to convert into, give a specified character or form to” (computerize; dramatize; itemize; motorize), “to subject to (as a process, sometimes named after its originator)” (hospitalize; terrorize; galvanize; oxidize; simonize; winterize). Also formed with -ize are a more heterogeneous group of verbs, usually intransitive, denoting a change of state (crystallize), kinds or instances of behavior (apologize; moralize; tyrannize), or activities (economize; philosophize; theorize).
The suffix -ize has been in common use since the late 16th century; it is one of the most productive suffixes in the language, and scores of words ending in -ize are in daily use.
Some words ending in -ize have been widely disapproved in recent years, particularly finalize (first attested in the early 1920s) and prioritize (around 1970). Such words are most often criticized when they become, as did these two, vogue terms, suddenly heard and seen everywhere, especially in the context of advertising, commerce, education, or government—forces claimed by some to have a corrupting influence upon the language. The criticism has fairly effectively suppressed the use of finalize and prioritize in belletristic writing, but the words are fully standard[ized] and occur regularly in all varieties of speech and writing, especially the more formal types.
The British spelling, -ise, is becoming less common in British English, especially in technical or formal writing, chiefly because some influential British publishers advocate or have adopted the American form -ize.
For the purposes of this article, and for our faithful following Brits, know that we hereby allow the substitution of the form “-ise” for “-ize,” … without limitation.
Now, we realize that this practice has been in effect for ages, however, certain readers have prodded us (thanks, mom!) to explore the more recent preponderance, and seemingly lazy application of this custom. We will build on the two examples in the usage note above: finalize (est. origin 1920-25) and prioritize (est. origin 1965-70), asserting that any English language trend since 1920 (at least) is, in our terms, modern.
When researching for this post, one source returned a list of more than 500 words containing “ize.” Another source gave us 1128 “-ize” words. Just know that we will only focus on those words in which the suffix “-ize” is used to verbalize. And, we will, with your help and contributions, acquaint you with some “-ize” words that have not yet been dictionaryized.
By the way, here’s a bit about our pictured example: simonize
simonize. verb. to shine or polish to a high sheen, esp. with wax: to simonize an automobile. Simonize is actually the generic term, which came after Simoniz, a trademark. Thanks to PizzaBagel for the photo.
A few that are in the dictionary but for which we could not determine their originating date:
Examples that you may not find in any mainstream dictionary:
There is verbalizing for almost every country, state, city … i.e., when we moved last, we became Austinized again in this wonderful Texas capitol. Lots of organizations will “-ize” their employees … i.e., were you Dellized when you worked for the computer company? In addition, a virtually infinite number of brand names have the potential for “-izing,” and many have already been “-ized.” What are your examples?
Please help us build our list … we welcome your contributions.
Here’s one from dan_stiver: alterize
For our parting shot … if you want to please at least one mom out there, exercise the non-ized versions of these terms and concepts. We dare you!
Be sure to see our related posts:
- Nouns gone bad …
- Nouns gone bad … sequeled
- Badverbs … cousins to nouns gone bad
- SPAM: honorary noun gone bad …
Sources: dictionary.com, RhymeZone, wordnavigator.com, PizzaBagel (No, He’s Not!)