Sunday, May 18, 2008

-ize write

To the second rancke of reprehenders, that complain of my boystrous compound wordes, and ending my Italionate coyned verbes all in ize, thus I replie: That no winde that blowes strong but is boystrous ; no speech or wordes of any power or force to confute or perswade, but must be swelling and boystrous. For the compounding of my wordes, therein I imitate rich men, who, having store of white single money together, convert a number of those small little sentes into great peeces of gold, such as double pistoles and portugues. Our English tongue, of all languages, most swarmeth with the single money of monosillables, which are the onely scandal of it. Bookes written in them, and no other, seeme like shop-keepers’ boxes, that containe nothing else saue halfe-pence, three-farthings, and two pences. Therefore what did me I, but, having a huge heape of those worthlesse shreds of small English in my pia maters purse, to make the royaller shew with them to men’s eyes, had them to the compounders immediately, and exchanged them foure into one. and others into more, according to the Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Thomas Nashe, Introduction to Sydney’s Astrophel & Stella Christ’s Tears Over Jerusalem 1593.

Jeopardize. This is a modern word which we could easily do without, as it is neither more nor less than its venerable progenitor to jeopard, which is greatly preferred by all careful writers.

Alfred Ayres, The Verbalist, 1895, p.109

jeopardize. Richard Grant White called jeopardize “a foolish and intolerable word” in 1879, and he was not the only one who thought so. A popular view among American critics in the 19th century was that the proper verb was jeopard, an older word which, according to the OED, had fallen into disuse by the end of the 1600s. The first record of jeopardize is from 1646, but there is no further evidence of its use until it turns up in Noah Webster’s American Dictionary in 1828 with the note, “This is a modern word used by respectable writers in America, but synonymous with jeopard, and therefore useless.” Useless or not, jeopardize became increasingly common, both in America and in Great Britain, as attempts to resurrect jeopard met with predictable failure. The voices of protest against jeopardize, all of which have been American, began to die down by about 1900, and it was not long before this minor controversy was entirely forgotten. It has now been many decades since anyone found anything wrong with jeopardize.

Merriam-Webster‘s Dictionary of English Usage, 1994, pp.570f.

-ize; -ise. But neologisms ending in -ize are generally to be discouraged, for they are invariably ungainly and often superfluous. Thus we have no use for accessorize, artificialize, , audiblize, cubiclize, fenderize (= to fix a dented fender), funeralize, ghettoize, Mirandize, nakedize, and so on. Careful writers are wary of new words formed with this suffix.

Bryan A. Garner, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, 1998, p.389.

Addendum. Thanks to Conrad over at the simply marvelous blog Varieties of Unreligious Experience (link) for the Nashe attribution correction; see commentary hereunder.]



Blogger Conrad H. Roth said...

Good to see Nashe mentioned on a blog; but your quote does not come from Nashe's intro to Sidney, but rather from his preface to Christs Teares over Jerusalem (1594); see McKerrow's edition of the Works, vol. 2, p. 184.

May 28, 2008 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger zmjezhd said...

Good catch. I was just going by the MWDEU article (it says the Sidney introduction) which cites the OED1 entry on -ize it says the Shaks. Soc. edition of Supplication of Pierce Penniless to the Devil. I see the citation is to the preface ( so the mistake may be that Merriam-Webster editor thought it was in Nashe's introduction and not their preface.

May 28, 2008 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Conrad H. Roth said...

No problem. The passage came up in my masters dissertation all those years ago--in case you're curious:

"As his use of language developed in later works, Nashe began to defend his own inkhornism in terms of persuasive rhetoric. In the preface to Christs Teares over Ierusalem, he argues in favour of 'boystrous compound wordes' that 'no speech or wordes of any power or force to confute or perswade but must bee swelling and boystrous' (2/184). Rather than censuring the 'mechanicall mate', who 'abhorreth the English he was borne too' (3/311), he now advocates the compounding of monosyllables, after the manner of the 'Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian' (2/184), comparing this neologistic technique to the grafting of trees 'to make them more fruitful'. When, having explained the word 'Mummianize', he issues a challenge to 'Expresse who can the same substance so briefly in any other word but that' (2/185), Nashe is using one of the chief justifications given by mid-century neologisers. The appeal to rhetoric continues in the preface to Lenten Stuffe, in which Nashe justifies his use of 'huge woords' with the claim that he has become a 'tragicus Orator' (3/152): the very species he had lampooned in the Preface to Menaphon ten years earlier."

May 28, 2008 at 3:13 PM  

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