Etymology
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sentimentalize (v.)

1764, intransitive, "indulge in sentiments," from sentimental + -ize. Meaning "to make sentimental" (transitive) is from 1813. Related: Sentimentalized; sentimentalizing.

Think on these things, and let S______ go to Lincoln sessions by himself, and talk classically with country justices. In the meantime we will philosophize and sentimentalize;—the last word is a bright invention of the moment in which it was written, for yours or Dr. Johnson's service .... [Laurence Sterne, letter to William Combe, Esq., dated Aug. 5, 1764, published 1787]

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Definitions of sentimentalize

sentimentalize (v.)
look at with sentimentality or turn into an object of sentiment;
Don't sentimentalize the past events
Synonyms: sentimentalise
sentimentalize (v.)
make (someone or something) sentimental or imbue with sentimental qualities;
Too much poetry sentimentalizes the mind
These experiences have sentimentalized her
Synonyms: sentimentalise
sentimentalize (v.)
act in a sentimental way or indulge in sentimental thoughts or expression;
Synonyms: sentimentalise / sentimentize / sentimentise
From wordnet.princeton.edu