Civilise vs. civilize

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Civilize means to increase the social standards of a people or a place. It can also be used as an adjective in the form of civilized to describe something as polite or having good manners. Outside of North America it is spelled civilise and civilised.

The spelling changes extend to other derivations of the word such as civilization and civilisation, which means a group of people who function in a group. 


Complicating the reputation of communist rule in Xinjiang are controversial policies such as virtual slave labor (Kuomintang nationalist troops captured during the civil war and being sent to the west to civilize and transform the desert into arable farmland) and the relocation of the “Shanghai Girls” during the Cultural Revolution which, under the auspices of resettling urban Chinese to rural areas, is viewed by many historians as a means of pacifying the colonial Han by providing them with brides. [The Diplomat]

According to a study published in Current Anthropologyour transition into modern civilization might have coincided with our species’ drop in testosterone. [Washington Post]

A thousand years before Rome or Christ or Buddha, there existed a powerful array of civilizations in the Near and Middle East that had risen to the height of their glory. [NPR]

British colonisers turned Pacific islanders into some of the fattest people in the world by trying civilise them with fried food, a study by Oxford University has found. [Telegraph]

By the Tang dynasty in the 7th century—at about the time Muhammad returned to Mecca—China was one of the wealthiest and most illustrious civilisations on Earth. [Economist]