Categorize vs categorise

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Categorize means to sort something into a particular group, to place something in a particular class. Categorize is the preferred North American spelling of this transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are categorizes, categorized, categorizing, categorization.

Categorise is the preferred British spelling, related words are categorises, categorised, categorising, categorisation. The North American spelling of categorize is also considered correct and is gaining acceptance around the world. Categorize and categorise are examples of a group of words that are spelled with a “z” in American English and with an “s” in British English.


“I wouldn’t categorize what I’ve heard as a major hit,” visitors bureau executive director Lee Nettles said, adding that the effect is “more negative than positive for sure.” (The Charlotte Observer)

“Genes cannot tell us how to categorize or comprehend human diversity,” he writes. (The Atlantic Magazine)

Trumpeter-vocalist ElSaffar, a former Chicagoan, released one of the best jazz albums of 2015: “Crisis” (Pi Recordings), though one hesitates to even categorize this work under a single genre. (The Chicago Tribune)

However, actor Sourabh Raaj Jain says he doesn’t like to categorise his work as “fiction or mythology”. (The Indian Express)

Owing to the differences between the primary and secondary school curricula, students should be given a fresh start rather than be categorised according to admission scores. (The Straits Times)

The temptation to categorise those who want to join Islamic State as confused, naïve and marginalised young men conceals the reality that they have chosen to give their life to the most violent, merciless jihad imaginable. (The Herald Sun)

“There are a lot of people who are still categorizing in a way that makes sense to them, and is common among artists who are trying to work thematically. . . .” (Smithsonian Magazine)