Definition of -ize

1a(1) : cause to be or conform to or resemble systemize Americanize : cause to be formed into unionize
(2) : subject to a (specified) action plagiarize
(3) : impregnate or treat or combine with aluminize
b : treat like idolize
c : treat according to the method of bowdlerize
2a : become : become like crystallize
b : be productive in or of hypothesize : engage in a (specified) activity philosophize
c : adopt or spread the manner of activity or the teaching of Platonize

Adding -Ize to a Noun or Adjective: Usage Guide

The suffix -ize has been productive in English since the time of Thomas Nashe (1567–1601), who claimed credit for introducing it into English to remedy the surplus of monosyllabic words. Almost any noun or adjective can be made into a verb by adding -ize hospitalize familiarize ; many technical terms are coined this way oxidize as well as verbs of ethnic derivation Americanize and verbs derived from proper names. bowdlerize mesmerize Nashe noted in 1591 that his -ize coinages were being criticized, and to this day new words ending in -ize finalize prioritize are sure to draw critical fire.

History and Etymology for -ize

Middle French -iser, from Late Latin -izare, from Greek -izein

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Cite this Entry

“-ize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for -ize


verb suffix

English Language Learners Definition of -ize

: to cause to become or become like something specified : to become or become like (something specified)
: to treat like something specified
: to talk or write about someone or something in a specified way


verb suffix
\ ˌīz \
-ized; -izing

Kids Definition of -ize

1 : cause to be or be like : form or cause to be formed into crystallize
2 : cause to experience a specified action hypnotize
3 : saturate, treat, or combine with
4 : treat like idolize
5 : engage in a specified activity colonize


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