Saturday, February 2, 2013

Random-ised thoughts - Tristram Shandy, -ize and -ise verbs

This is part of an investigation I've been doing into the use and spelling of -ize suffix verbs and their spelling (-ize or -ise) in British English. For more details, related posts and the methods I've used, see the -ize / -ise page.

Engraving by George Cruikshank - image in the public domain, details at Wikipedia
There are two sets of verbs in English which have an /aɪz/ ending:
  • -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
So far, two things seem to be clear to me:
  • 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.
I'm particularly interested in Tristram Shandy as it seems to epitomise this new use of -ise/-ize suffix verbs I've just mentioned.

1759 Lawrence Sterne - The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman


As we've seen, earlier writers don't seemed to have used -ize suffix verbs very much; But Sterne seems to have positively revelled in them, possibly inventing one or two himself. As seems quite common at this time, some French -ise verbs and their derivatives are also spelt with a Z.

Possible neologisms

None of these appear as verbs in Dr Jonson's Dictionary. Here, OED# refers to Online Etymology Dictionary (not the Oxford English Dictionary)
  • apotheosize - OED# puts this at 1760 (a year after publication), 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


I first found all the -ize and -ise endings I could in the Project Gutenberg HTML version, which is very easy to search. Then I checked them all in Google Books' various versions. I used the 1819 version first as it's complete, but as not everything was there, I looked at other versions as well. The yellow boxes show which edition I found them in.
You can check these out yourself by using the book selector and clicking on one of the links. It will open search results in the relevant version in Google Books in a new tab or window (IE).
There's a very attractive facsimile version in three volumes at, but I haven't had much success with their search facility. On the other hand they also have raw text versions which are easily searchable.
Unless specified otherwise, derivations are from Online Etymology Dictionary.

Table of Verbs

F=French, OF=Old French, MF=Middle French, L=Latin, LL=Late Latin
Edition (as listed above)12345
Latin -ize verbs
philosophize 1590s3
philosophized 1590s3
solemnized late 14C1
syllogize C15: via OF, LL syllogiza-re, G sullogizesthai (Collins)2
baptizedc.1300, OF batisier (11c.), L baptizare, G baptizein 2
patronize 1580s1
subtilized - (subtile late 14c., from L.)1
civilized c.16001
uncrystalized 1590s (figurative use from 1660s - double l)1
anathematize1560s from Fr from Latin from Greek1
harmonized late 15C1
unmechanize (1670s mechanic)1
rhapsodize c.16001
soliloquized 1759 (soliloquy)1
moralize c14001
genteelized - (MF gentil 1590s)1
apotheosize 1760 (apotheosis 1600s)1
organizationmid 15C2
canonizationlate 14C1
French -ise verbs spelt with a Z
French -ise verbs
arise, -en, es
advise, -es
exercise, -ed
enfranchisement early 15C
devise, -ed

Thomas Nashe

There used to be a bit here about Thomas Nashe, possibly the 'father' of the -ize verb. I've written a rather more complete post Nash and -ize verbs and a look at three of his works, which you can find here.


Tristram Shandy

At / The Open Library

At Google Books


Jazz Packages said...

Enjoy Daily 3G/4G Jazz Free Internet With Jazz World App 2019. How to get Jazz free Internet and What,s Codes Apply to Get Free MBs 100 Percent Working...

novak dj said...

Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when i was was tempted to try it. i and my wife have been having a lot of problem living together, she will always not make me happy because she have fallen in love with another man outside our relationship, i tried my best to make sure that my wife leave this woman but the more i talk to her the more she makes me fell sad, so my marriage is now leading to divorce because she no longer gives me attention. so with all this pain and agony, i decided to contact this spell caster to see if things can work out between me and my wife again. this spell caster who was a man told me that my wife is really under a great spell that she have been charm by some magic, so he told me that he was going to make all things normal back. he did the spell on my wife and after 5 days my wife changed completely she even apologize with the way she treated me that she was not her self, i really thank this man his name is Dr ose he have bring back my wife back to me i want you all to contact him who are having any problem related to marriage issue and relationship problem he will solve it for you. his email is  he is a man and his  great. wish you good time.
He cast spells for different purposes like
(1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dream
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery

Contact him today on or whatsapp him on +2348136482342.