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Materialise vs. Materialize: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 14, 2023
"Materialise" and "materialize" are the same in meaning, referring to something becoming real or tangible, but differ in spelling; "materialise" is British English, "materialize" is American English.

Key Differences

"Materialise" and "materialize" both refer to the act of something becoming real or tangible from an idea or possibility. The difference lies in regional spelling preferences: "materialise" is used in British English, while "materialize" is used in American English.
In literary and academic contexts, "materialise" is typically found in British publications, and "materialize" in American texts. Both versions convey the same concept of turning abstract ideas or plans into reality.
"Materialise" can also imply an unexpected appearance, as in someone suddenly appearing, a concept similarly conveyed by "materialize" in American English. This usage is common in both formal and informal contexts.
The use of "materialise" in British English and "materialize" in American English extends to various fields, including the physical sciences, where they describe phenomena becoming observable.
In the context of manufacturing or production, "materialise" and "materialize" both describe the process of an idea or design taking physical form, reflecting the same process in different English dialects.

Comparison Chart



Regional Usage

Common in the UK
Common in the US

Language Variants

British English
American English

Literary Use

Found in British texts
Found in American texts

Meaning in Context

Becoming real or tangible
Becoming real or tangible

Materialise and Materialize Definitions


To become actual or real.
Her dream to study abroad finally materialised.


To become real or actual.
His idea for the novel began to materialize after months of thought.


To come into perceptible existence.
The solution to the problem seemed to materialise out of thin air.


To suddenly become visible.
Out of nowhere, a figure materialized in the foggy street.


To appear suddenly or unexpectedly.
As if by magic, a taxi materialised just as it started to rain.


To come into physical existence.
The characters in the story materialize as complex and relatable.


To take physical shape or form.
The artist's vision materialised in the form of a stunning sculpture.


To take form in a tangible way.
The concept for the new building quickly materialized.


To make something tangible or concrete.
With hard work, they saw their plans materialise.


To realize something in a concrete manner.
The team's efforts to improve sales began to materialize.


Standard spelling of materialize


To come into existence; become real
Their support on the eastern flank did not materialize.


Come into being; become reality;
Her dream really materialized


To appear, especially suddenly
"As they plunged down the highway, hazy purple mountains materialized" (Tom Bissell).


Can "materialize" mean to appear suddenly?

Yes, it can mean appearing suddenly or unexpectedly.

Are "materialise" and "materialize" interchangeable?

Yes, but depending on the regional English being used.

Do "materialise" and "materialize" have the same pronunciation?

Yes, they are pronounced the same.

Can "materialise" refer to ghostly appearances?

In literature, it can be used to describe such phenomena.

Can "materialize" be used in a metaphorical sense?

Yes, to describe ideas or plans becoming real.

Is "materialize" a formal or informal term?

It's used in both formal and informal contexts.

Is "materialise" used in American English?

Rarely, as "materialize" is the preferred American spelling.

Is "materialise" a common term in science?

Yes, particularly in British English scientific literature.

Does "materialize" imply physical formation?

It can, as in an idea taking a physical form.

Is "materialize" used in artistic contexts?

Yes, to describe art taking form or shape.

Are there synonyms for "materialise"?

Yes, like "manifest" or "take shape."

Is "materialize" used in fantasy or fiction?

Yes, often to describe supernatural occurrences.

Can "materialise" be used in everyday speech?

Yes, especially in British English.

Does "materialize" have different meanings?

It has nuances but generally means becoming real or tangible.

Can "materialize" refer to sudden opportunities?

Yes, like unexpected chances materializing.

Is "materialise" used in technology fields?

Yes, especially in British English contexts.

Can "materialise" mean achieving goals?

Metaphorically, yes, as in dreams or goals becoming reality.

Does "materialize" have a scientific connotation?

It can, in contexts like physics or engineering.

Can "materialise" be used in business contexts?

Yes, for plans or strategies becoming actionable.

Is "materialise" often used in British media?

Yes, in both print and broadcast media.
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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