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Talking Monetization

A Facebook friend, Liza Kendall Christian, wrote Monday to express her curiosity about monetize:

“Bob, Do you knew the origin of the word monetize among all the other fun things you seem to dissect about language. Just a minor curiosity of when and in what venue/sphere it came into existence. Thank you, Bob!”

This word first began to appear in print in the second half of the 19th century in the sense of “to establish as the standard of currency”, a meaning which slowly evolved into “realize as or express in terms of money.”

In 1867 it was used several times in a book by J. A. Ferris called “The financial Economy of the United States”, e.g. “This would monetize gold again.” In 1903 it was being used widely throughout the English-speaking world. The British journal “The Speaker” was even using new words derived from it, e.g. “He demonetised silver in Germany and monetised gold.”

Money, money, money!The word was borrowed from French monĂ©tiser, which emerged some time before 1818. The French didn’t inherit it from Latin but created it from Latin moneta “money” plus the Greek suffix -iz-. The British still spell this suffix the French way -ise (monetise) while we long ago changed the spelling to -ize. The US spelling is, however, in the process of being adopted in the UK.

2 Responses to “Talking Monetization”

  1. Peter Harvey Says:

    It’s not quite that simple. The -ize ending has always been used in British English, and is the house style of Oxford University Press. both forms are used side-by-side in Britain and are regarded as equally valid alternatives.

    A previous version of Word had -ise and GB and -ize as US, but that was wrong and has now been corrected. Word British English now accepts both forms.

  2. Peter Harvey Says:

    That should be:

    A previous version of Word had -ise as GB and -ize as US …

    Apologies.

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