Maximise or Maximize – What’s the Difference?

Photo of author


To maximise something is to use it to its fullest or to get the most out of it, whether it be a job, a computer, or a bar of soap. If you maximise something, you could also be increasing it to its fullest.

One can be a maximiser, and you could refer to your activity as maximisation.

How Do You Spell Maximize in UK English?

The British spelling of maximize is maximise. This rule of changing -ize to -ise for the British spelling is also found in other words like utilize and utilise and mobilize and mobilise. 

Such a situation stems from the explosion of English coinages with this suffix. It coincided with French -ise borrowings like galvanise and polarise. During this period in time, there was even a shift toward the -ise words in British English.

Then, in 1884, the Oxford English Dictionary decided to list the -ize spellings first before the -ise versions. In the 1990s, several publishers contested this decision. The internet age also created the notion that -ize is American spelling, while -ise is British. 

Other British spellings include maximisation and maximiser.

Spelling Trends

However, you can see that maximize became more popular according to Google Ngrams around 1989 for British English.

maximize vs maximise British English
British English Trend

And here you can see the trend for American English:

maximize vs maximise American English

How Do You Spell Maximize in Canada?

The Canadian spelling for maximize is also maximize. Canadian English is similar to American English since both are located in North America. But it also uses British rules sometimes, such as colour instead of color.

Other Canadian spellings include maximization and maximizer.

Maximize Synonyms

  • optimise/optimize.
  • Improve.
  • Enlarge.
  • Escalate.
  • Expand.
  • Amplify,
  • Boost.
  • Widen.
  • Make the most of.
  • Make the best use of.

How Do You Use Maximize in a Sentence?

Add mirrors. They are an easy way to maximise light and create a feeling of space. [Biz News]

JLIF is now understood to want access to Balfour’s data room and said that it “continues to believe shareholder value for Balfour Beatty will be maximised by these assets being owned by an infrastructure fund with a lower cost of capital, which specialises in investing in low risk, operational infrastructure assets.” [The Telegraph]

RIL said it would provide technical support and share experience with PEMEX for maximisation of refining value and other technical optimisation strategies. [The Hindu]

The secret to making a customer take action is understanding a special formula that maximizes customer motivation, ability and behavioral triggers. [Entrepreneur]

Teams that previously spent considerable effort countering generic intrusion now focus instead on maximizing sales and expanding market share while products enjoy patent protection. [Market Wired]

“Maximizers are people who want the very best. Satisficers are people who want good enough,” says Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and author of “The Paradox of Choice.” [Wall Street Journal]

Maximize Your Spelling Skills

There is no significant difference between maximise and maximize; they are correct spellings of the verb that means to use something to the fullest. Use the -ize spelling to write to an American or Canadian audience. And use the -ise spelling for British English spelling. 

What other spelling dilemmas do you have? How about analog vs. analogue? Or acknowledgement vs. acknowledgment?