- -ise/-ize suffix verbs - these are always spelt with a Z in the US, but everywhere else we have a choice between S and Z. Examples include: realise/realize and sympathise/sympathize. This is an open group with new verbs joining it all the time. The earlier verbs had Latin and ultimately Greek roots, but many later verbs in this group have been formed from existing English words.
- French -ise verbs, especially based on -cise, -mise, -prize, -vise. These are always spelt with an S, both here and in the US. Examples include: advise, devise, surmise, surprise. This is a largely closed group, numbering twenty or thirty verbs
- The -ise/-ize suffix verbs were not used very much until the 18th century; Shakespeare used perhaps a dozen in all his works. On the other hand, use of the limited number of French -ise verbs was very popular. They were occasionally also spelt with a Z.
- From very early on The -ise/-ize suffix verbs were spelt almost exclusively with a Z, but something happened at the end of the 18th century, and the S spelling suddenly became popular in Britain.
1759 Lawrence Sterne - The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
- apotheosize - OED# puts this at 1760 (a year after publication), Dictionary.com 1750-1760. Dr Johnson has apotheosis
- genteelize - OED# has nothing for the verb, genteel from the 1590s. Nothing in Dr Johnson
- soliliquize - OED# puts this at 1759 (the year of publication). Dr Johnson has soliloquy
Table of Verbs
|F=French, OF=Old French, MF=Middle French, L=Latin, LL=Late Latin|
|Edition (as listed above)||1||2||3||4||5|
|Latin -ize verbs|
|syllogize||C15: via OF, LL syllogiza-re, G sullogizesthai (Collins)||2|
|baptized||c.1300, OF batisier (11c.), L baptizare, G baptizein||2|
|subtilized||- (subtile late 14c., from L.)||1|
|uncrystalized||1590s (figurative use from 1660s - double l)||1|
|anathematize||1560s from Fr from Latin from Greek||1|
|genteelized||- (MF gentil 1590s)||1|
|apotheosize||1760 (apotheosis 1600s)||1|
|French -ise verbs spelt with a Z|
|French -ise verbs|
|arise, -en, es|