ex·​ot·​i·​ci·​za·​tion ig-ˌzä-tə-sə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce exoticization (audio)
: the practice of portraying or regarding someone or something as exotic (see exotic entry 1 sense 2) : the practice of exoticizing someone or something
Thus when the fantastical souls appear, characters who are Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, aboriginal Australian and Native American, they read as painful examples of Western exoticization. The main characters are all English Caucasians …Andrew Warrick
This sort of needless sexualization of neutral cultural differences is a key element in Orientalism, contributing to the exoticization of the East by fetishizing these differences.Zeena Mubarak

Examples of exoticization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Narratives built on extraction and exoticization, from A Fistful of Dollars to Villeneuve’s own Blade Runner 2049 and Sicario, tell a story of hostility, humanity versus the desert, that buries the rich histories and relationships of ecology and culture in arid environments around the world. Scientific American, 21 Oct. 2021 For example, the guide notes that colorism and oversexualization or exoticization are both issues that API women face onscreen and in real life. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Dec. 2022 While white Western exploitation and exoticization has always existed, burgeoning Hindu nationalism across the world has started to use religious iconography and ayurvedic practices as symbols of their movement, Ray said. Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, 29 Sep. 2022 To romanticize the lost past is to risk another form of exoticization, casting Indigenous peoples as beatifically wise ancients — the archetype of the noble savage — and thus depriving them of dimension and a stake in modernity. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2022 Europe’s exoticization of Josephine Baker in the Revue nègre was no one-off, even if Baker herself was unique. Gary Younge, The New York Review of Books, 6 June 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exoticization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


exoticize + -ation

First Known Use

1982, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of exoticization was in 1982

Dictionary Entries Near exoticization

Cite this Entry

“Exoticization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exoticization. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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