1590s, "convert into crystal;" 1660s "form into crystals;" from crystal + -ize. Intransitive sense of "be converted into crystals" is from 1640s. Figurative use, of opinions, love, etc., that are at first indeterminate, "assume a definite form and fixity," is from 1660s. Related: Crystallized; crystallizing.
Entries linking to crystallize
formerly also cristal, and, erroneously, chrystal, Old English cristal "clear ice; clear, transparent mineral," from Old French cristal (12c., Modern French crystal), from Latin crystallus "crystal, ice," from Greek krystallos, from kryos "frost," from PIE root *kreus- "to begin to freeze, form a crust."
The spelling adopted the Latin form 15c.-17c. The mineral has been so-called since Anglo-Saxon times; it was regarded by the ancients as a sort of petrified ice. In the specific sense in chemistry, "body with a molecular structure that causes it to take the form of a regular solid enclosed by a certain number of plane surfaces," from 1620s.
Crystall is a brighte stone and clere with watry colour. Men trowe that it is of snowe or yse made harde in space of many yeres. Therfore the Grekes yave a name therto. It is gendred in Asia and in Cipres, and namely in the northe moutaynes where the sonne is mooste feruent in somer. [Bartholomew Glanville, "De proprietatibus rerum," c. 1240, translated by John of Trevisa c. 1398]
A top-20 name for girls born in the U.S. between 1978 and 1984. As a shortened form of crystal-glass it dates from 1590s. As an adjective, from late 14c. Crystal ball is from 1794. Rock-crystal is the general name for transparent crystals of quartz. Crystal Palace was the name of the large building, made chiefly of glass and iron, for the universal exhibition of 1851 in London's Hyde Park.
word-forming element used to make verbs, Middle English -isen, from Old French -iser/-izer, from Late Latin -izare, from Greek -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached.
The variation of -ize and -ise began in Old French and Middle English, perhaps aided by a few words (such as surprise, see below) where the ending is French or Latin, not Greek. With the classical revival, English partially reverted to the correct Greek -z- spelling from late 16c. But the 1694 edition of the authoritative French Academy dictionary standardized the spellings as -s-, which influenced English.
In Britain, despite the opposition to it (at least formerly) of OED, Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Times of London, and Fowler, -ise remains dominant. Fowler thinks this is to avoid the difficulty of remembering the short list of common words not from Greek which must be spelled with an -s- (such as advertise, devise, surprise). American English has always favored -ize. The spelling variation involves about 200 English verbs.
updated on May 26, 2018
Dictionary entries near crystallize