1795, "to bring to a center, draw to a central point;" 1800, "come to a center," from central + -ize, on model of French centraliser (1790). A word from the French Revolution, generally applied to the transferring of local administration to the central government. Related: Centralized; centralizing.
Government should have a central point throughout its whole periphery. The state of the monthly expences amounted to four hundred millions; but within these seven months, it is reduced to one hundred and eighty millions. Such is the effect of the centralization of government; and the more we centralize it, the more we shall find our expenses decrease. [Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, "Discourse on the State of the Finances," 1793]
updated on October 27, 2017