Difference Wiki

Infantilise vs. Infantilize: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sara Rehman || By Huma Saeed || Updated on November 10, 2023
"Infantilise" and "infantilize" are different spellings of the same word, with "infantilise" being British and "infantilize" American. They both mean to treat someone as if they are a child, disregarding their maturity or age.

Key Differences

Infantilise and infantilize share the same meaning: treating someone in a way that denies their maturity or age, making them seem like a child. The primary difference between the two lies in their spelling, which reflects the variant of English being used.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
In British English, infantilise is the standard spelling. It's used in contexts where an adult is treated in a patronizing or overly protective manner that is typical for children. Infantilize, on the other hand, is the American English spelling and is used in the same contexts within the United States.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
Both terms imply a reduction in the perceived capability or autonomy of an individual, often in a demeaning manner. The act of infantilising or infantilizing someone can occur in personal relationships, social interactions, or even in workplace settings.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023
The usage of infantilise or infantilize often indicates the speaker's or writer's geographical or cultural background. For example, British media and literature will typically use infantilise, whereas American sources will use infantilize.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023
Regardless of the spelling, the concept of infantilising or infantilizing someone is generally viewed negatively, as it undermines an individual's maturity and competence, and the choice of spelling should align with the variant of English being used.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Spelling Variation

British English
American English
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Meaning

Treating someone as if they are a child
Treating someone as if they are a child
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Usage Regions

UK, Commonwealth countries
USA, countries influenced by American English
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Context

Personal, social, workplace
Personal, social, workplace
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Linguistic Preference

Reflects British language norms
Reflects American language norms
Janet White
Nov 10, 2023
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Infantilise and Infantilize Definitions

Infantilise

To diminish an adult's autonomy in a demeaning manner.
The policy was criticized for infantilising its employees.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilize

To treat an adult like a child.
He resented being infantilized by his colleagues.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilise

To treat an adult in a way typical for a child.
He felt infantilised by his parents' constant interference.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilize

To overly coddle or protect an adult.
The company's policies were seen as infantilizing its customers.
Janet White
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilise

To undermine someone's maturity.
Infantilising her capabilities affected her confidence.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilize

To belittle someone's adult qualities or capabilities.
The new rules at work seemed to infantilize the staff.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilise

To treat someone in a patronizing manner.
The teacher was accused of infantilising her students.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilize

To reduce someone's perceived competence.
Infantilizing her role in the project was unfair.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilise

To overprotect someone, thus hindering their development.
By infantilising their son, they hindered his independence.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilize

To patronize someone in a demeaning way.
Infantilizing older adults in care is a common concern.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 10, 2023

Infantilise

Standard spelling of infantilize
Huma Saeed
Jan 03, 2023

Infantilize

To treat or condescend to as if still a young child
"The Victorian physician infantilized his patient" (Judith Moore).
Huma Saeed
Jan 03, 2023

Infantilize

To reduce to an infantile state or condition
"It creates a crisis that infantilizes them—causes grown men to squabble like kids about trivial things" (New Yorker).
Huma Saeed
Jan 03, 2023

Infantilize

(transitive) To reduce (a person) to the state or status of an infant.
Huma Saeed
Jan 03, 2023

Infantilize

(transitive) To treat (a person) like a child.
Huma Saeed
Jan 03, 2023

FAQs

Is infantilize seen negatively?

Generally, yes, as it undermines someone's autonomy and maturity.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Can infantilise be used in formal writing?

Yes, in British English contexts.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

What does infantilize mean?

The same as infantilise, but it’s the American English spelling.
Sara Rehman
Nov 10, 2023

How do you pronounce infantilise?

It's pronounced in-fan-til-eyes.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

What’s an example of infantilising behavior?

Speaking to an adult in a condescending, child-like manner.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Is there a difference in usage between infantilise and infantilize?

No, just a difference in spelling based on British or American English.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Is infantilise commonly used?

It's relatively common in discussions about patronizing behavior.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Is it offensive to infantilize someone?

Often, as it disrespects their adult capabilities.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

What does infantilise mean?

To treat someone as if they are a child, diminishing their maturity.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Can a company’s culture infantilize its employees?

Yes, through overly controlling or protective policies.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Does infantilize have different meanings?

No, it’s specific to treating adults like children.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Can a policy infantilize adults?

Yes, if it excessively restricts or patronizes them.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Is infantilise a psychological term?

It’s used in psychology to describe certain behaviors.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 10, 2023

How can you avoid infantilizing someone?

By respecting their maturity and independence.
Janet White
Nov 10, 2023

Can parents infantilize their adult children?

Yes, by not acknowledging their adult status and capabilities.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Are there cultural variations in infantilizing?

Yes, attitudes can vary based on cultural norms.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Can infantilizing affect someone’s self-esteem?

Yes, it can negatively impact an individual's confidence and self-worth.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Can infantilise be used in a positive context?

Rarely, as it usually implies a lack of respect for maturity.
Harlon Moss
Nov 10, 2023

Does infantilize imply intentional disrespect?

It can, but not always; it sometimes stems from overprotection.
Huma Saeed
Nov 10, 2023

Is infantilize a modern term?

It’s been in use for some time but is relevant in modern discussions.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 10, 2023
About Author
Written by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.
Edited by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.

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