From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oxford spelling (or Oxford English spelling) is the spelling used in the editorial practice of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and other English language dictionaries based on the OED, for example the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. It can be marked with the language tag en-GB-oed.
Oxford spelling follows British spelling in combination with the suffix -ize instead of -ise. For instance, organization, privatize and recognizable are used instead of organisation, privatise and recognisable. In the last few decades, the suffix -ise has become very popular in the UK. Therefore, many people incorrectly regard -ize as an Americanism, although the form -ize has been in use in English since the 16th century.  The use of -ize instead of -ise does not affect the spelling of words ending in -yse, which are spelt analyse, paralyse and catalyse in line with standard British usage.
Today, all major newspapers and magazines in the UK use -ise. The Times had been using -ize until the early 1980s, when it decided to switch to the -ise spelling. The Times Literary Supplement, Britain's most influential literary review has continued to use Oxford spelling. Oxford spelling is also used in academic publications; the London-based scientific journal Nature uses Oxford spelling, for example. Even though British dictionaries generally give -ize variants first, the British government prefers -ise.
Outside Britain, Oxford spelling is the de facto spelling standard used in style guides of international organizations that belong to the UN System, for example the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization and UNESCO. UN treaties and declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights generally follow Oxford spelling. Other international organizations that adhere to this standard include the International Organization for Standardization, the World Trade Organization and the International Telecommunication Union.
Language Tag comparison
The following table summarizes a few general spelling differences between the three most commonly used spelling systems:
- Spelling differences: -ise vs -ize
- Oxford English Dictionary
- IANA Language Tag Registration Form for en-GB-oed
- AskOxford: Are spellings like privatize and organize Americanisms?