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Romanticise vs. Romanticize — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 26, 2024
"Romanticise" and "romanticize" are the British and American spellings respectively of a verb meaning to make something appear better or more idealistic than it is.
Romanticise vs. Romanticize — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Romanticise and Romanticize


Key Differences

The term "romanticise" is the preferred spelling in British English, used when describing the act of viewing or presenting something in an unrealistically positive light. Whereas "romanticize" is used in American English, applying the same concept of adding a romantic allure or idealized view to an event, person, or scenario.
Both terms share the same etymology, derived from the notion of romanticism, a movement that emphasized emotion and individualism. On the other hand, they manifest the typical differences between British and American English spelling conventions, similar to "realise" vs. "realize."
In literature, "romanticise" might be used in British publications when authors infuse ordinary settings with a sense of beauty or mystery. On the other hand, "romanticize" appears in American texts where authors might portray historical events with added drama or emotional appeal.
In daily use, someone in the UK might accuse a speaker of romanticising the past, implying a biased, beautified view. Whereas in the US, the same accusation would use "romanticize," referring to the same tendency to idealize past events.
Despite their spelling differences, both forms convey the same meanings and are used interchangeably in terms of context and syntax within their respective dialects.

Comparison Chart

Spelling Region

British English
American English

Example Usage

"He tends to romanticise his childhood."
"She tends to romanticize her first love."

Literary Movement Origin


Common Misinterpretation

Overly idealizing, especially in past tense
Overly idealizing, especially in past tense

Syntax and Context

Used identically to "romanticize"
Used identically to "romanticise"

Compare with Definitions


To make something seem better or more appealing than it really is.
He tends to romanticise the hardships he faced.


To think of or depict something in an idealized or unrealistic manner.
He romanticizes the golden age of Hollywood.


To make something appear more mysterious or appealing to the emotions.
Poets can romanticise even the most mundane moments.


To cause to be perceived as attractive or interesting through idealization.
Artists often romanticize rural life.


To attribute romantic qualities to.
She romanticised their encounter much more than was necessary.


To imbue with an aura of romance.
The singer's lyrics romanticize young love.


To describe or think about something in a way that highlights its positive qualities while ignoring the negative ones.
Authors often romanticise the medieval period.


To make something appear more appealing or special than it actually is.
The novel tends to romanticize the protagonist's adventures.


To deal with or describe in an idealistic or unrealistic fashion.
The film romanticises the life of pirates.


To present something in a way that emphasizes its positive aspects and downplays the negative.
The tour guide romanticized the city's colonial history.


Standard spelling of romanticize


To view or interpret romantically; make romantic.


Interpret romantically;
Don't romanticize this uninteresting and hard work!


To think in a romantic way.


Make romantic in style;
The designer romanticized the little black dress


(transitive) To interpret, view, or portray something in a romantic (unrealistic, idealized) manner.


(intransitive) To think or act in a romantic manner.


Interpret romantically;
Don't romanticize this uninteresting and hard work!


Make romantic in style;
The designer romanticized the little black dress


Act in a romantic way

Common Curiosities

What effect does romanticizing have on historical events?

It can lead to a distorted understanding of history, emphasizing the positive and minimizing the negative.

Can "romanticise" and "romanticize" be used interchangeably?

Yes, they can be used interchangeably within the context of their respective varieties of English.

Are there any negative implications of romanticizing?

Yes, romanticizing can lead to unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings about reality.

Is there a psychological impact of romanticizing the past?

Yes, it can affect one's perception of the present and expectations for the future, often leading to disappointment.

Does romanticizing affect mental health?

It can, particularly if it leads to chronic dissatisfaction with reality.

How do "romanticise" and "romanticize" relate to the arts?

Both are often used in discussing literature, film, and art that present subjects in an idealized light.

Are "romanticise" and "romanticize" found in academic writing?

Yes, they are used in academic contexts to discuss the portrayal and perception of various topics.

What is the main difference between "romanticise" and "romanticize"?

The main difference is the spelling: "romanticise" is British, and "romanticize" is American.

Does "romanticise" only apply to romantic relationships?

No, it can apply to any aspect of life that is portrayed in an overly idealistic way.

How can one avoid romanticizing in personal storytelling?

By striving to provide a balanced view that acknowledges both positives and negatives.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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