OrganiSation or OrganiZation? The great spelling debate
OrganiSation or OrganiZation – the great Atlantic debate
There is a belief that it is spelt with an ‘s’ in the UK and in the US with a ‘z’.
In fact while the US spelling is with a ‘z’ the UK preferred spelling is also with a ‘z’ and as an alternative with an ‘s’ if you follow the guidance from leading authoritative dictionaries.
This is true even in my 1972 Concise Oxford Dictionary.
Organisation or organization – So which is correct?
Both, with z being the preferred according to the dictionaries in both the US & UK. This ignores the debate that is also occurring in Canada and Australia!
|Some definitions (when you search for “organisation”):|
organizational or’gan·i·za‘tion·al adj.
Source -” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 25 Mar. 2007.http://www.answers.com/topic/organization
One entry found for organisation.
There have been many debates about international spelling of organisation or organization around the world. These include the following found on a debate about computer dictionaries:
My text is marked as English (UK) but it doesn’t flag spellings like organization.
It may come as a surprise to many, but most authoritative UK English dictionaries prefer the -z- spelling for many words, and have done so for decades. English (US) only allows -z- spellings, but other countries allow -s- & -z- interchangeably except: where a particular spelling is defined for a specific entity: e.g.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
The Macquarie Dictionary also lists -z- spellings as permissible alternates. Some institutions or texts may have stylistic preferences for one over the other.
In theory you could add all the spellings you don’t like to an exclude dictionary, but there are many thousands of such words in many forms E.G.:
Organize, organized, organizing, organizer, organizers, organization, organizations, organizational, organization’s.
Some words only have -s- forms e.g. promise, premise, chemise, compromise, merchandise, franchise, enterprise, disguise, exercise, surmise, surprise.
Organise or organize – some history
One website looks at the usage of organisation or organization and has produced this great Ngram:
This shows that in the 1920s the Z spelling was more popular in UK publications, and yet in the 1930s this somehow changed. There was a resurgence in the 1970s, but in the early 1980s that started to drop off. It would be interesting to know the impact of microsoft word and its spell checks impact on the decision of organisation or organization from the late 1980s onwards.
There is more to it than organisation or organization
See these links for more background on the organisation or organization or ise/ize (and yse/yze) issue: