Difference Wiki

Categorise vs. Categorize: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 18, 2023
"Categorise" and "categorize" have the same meaning: to place or classify items into categories, differing only in British (categorise) and American (categorize) spelling.

Key Differences

"Categorise" is the British English spelling of the word that means to classify or sort things into different groups or types. "Categorize," with a 'z,' is the American English spelling of the same word, used in the same context of classifying or grouping items.
When someone categorises information, they are organizing it into a system that makes it easier to understand and reference. Similarly, to categorize means to arrange or sort items, ideas, or information into distinct classes or groups, a key process in many academic and professional fields.
The process of categorisation involves identifying common features or criteria that define a group or class. The process of categorization, under the American spelling, follows the same principle of grouping based on shared characteristics or attributes.
In British English, "categorise" is often seen in academic texts, government documents, and formal writing. The American spelling "categorize" is similarly used in the United States in official publications, educational material, and general writing.
Both spellings, "categorise" and "categorize," represent the same fundamental concept in organizing and understanding information, showcasing the nuances in British and American English spelling conventions.

Comparison Chart


British English
American English


UK academic and official documents
US academic and official documents


Same as 'categorize'
Same as 'categorise'


Classifying into groups
Classifying into groups


Common in British publications
Common in American publications

Categorise and Categorize Definitions


To sort or organize information systematically.
The librarian categorises new arrivals every week.


To assign to a specific category.
The movie was categorized as a thriller.


To classify items based on shared characteristics.
She categorised the survey responses by age group.


To systematically arrange information.
Researchers categorize findings for the report.


To place in a particular classification.
They categorised the plant as a new species.


To classify or sort into groups.
He categorized the data for easier analysis.


To arrange into classes or divisions.
We need to categorise these books by genre.


To group into designated categories.
We need to categorize these samples by their origin.


To divide into specific categories.
Let's categorise the expenses into different budgets.


To organize items based on type or characteristic.
The app categorizes your spending into various categories.


Standard spelling of categorize


To put into a category or categories; classify.


Place into or assign to a category;
Children learn early on to categorize


(transitive) To assign a category; to divide into classes.
First, categorize incoming messages according to the needed actions.


To insert in a category or list; to class; to catalogue.


Place into or assign to a category;
Children learn early on to categorize


Does the meaning change with spelling?

No, the meaning remains the same despite the spelling difference.

Is there a difference in usage between categorise and categorize?

The difference lies in regional spelling preferences, not in usage.

Can I use categorise in American English?

It's not standard; "categorize" is the preferred spelling in American English.

What is the meaning of categorise/categorize?

Both mean to classify or sort things into categories.

Is categorize used in British English?

British English predominantly uses "categorise."

Why are there two spellings for the same word?

It reflects the differences between American and British English spelling conventions.

In which fields is the term categorise/categorize commonly used?

These terms are used in a variety of fields like data analysis, librarianship, and academia.

Can the spelling affect the pronunciation?

No, both spellings are pronounced the same way.

Are there any synonyms for categorise/categorize?

Yes, synonyms include classify, sort, group, and arrange.

How do I know which spelling to use?

Use "categorise" for British English and "categorize" for American English.

Do English language learners need to know both spellings?

Awareness of both can be helpful, especially for understanding different English dialects.

Can categorise/categorize be used in scientific writing?

Absolutely, they are commonly used in scientific and research contexts.

Is there a preference for one spelling in international publications?

International publications may choose a spelling based on their target audience.

Is one spelling more correct than the other?

No, the correctness depends on the regional language standard.

Are there regional variations within British or American English?

Generally, the spelling is consistent within each variant of English.

Do categorise and categorize have the same grammatical rules?

Yes, they follow the same grammatical rules and structure.

How do I teach the difference between categorise and categorize?

Focus on regional language standards and spelling conventions.

Are there any mnemonic devices to remember the spellings?

Remember 's' for British (categorise) and 'z' for American (categorize).

Can these words be used in informal writing?

Yes, they can be used in both informal and formal contexts.

Is the use of categorise/categorize evolving?

The usage remains consistent, though digital language tools may favor one spelling.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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