Word Choice – Prioritize Versus Priorize

Chantal’s question: “Lately, I’ve heard people say ‘priorize’ instead of ‘prioritze.’ Will you please confirm the correct usage.”

BizWritingTip response: Yes, I’ve heard people use both forms. However, according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, the correct word is “prioritize” – meaning to rank in order of importance.

“Priorize” is not listed.

“Prioritize” is another example of a noun that has been changed into a verb. Until the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, people only used the noun “priority.” Then someone turned it into a verb. And the trend caught on.

“Priorize” is a shorter, cuter version of “prioritize,” but it is not yet recognized by most dictionaries.

Language is organic. In other words, it changes and grows over time. Words are added and dropped as they come and go from common usage. Yes, “priorize” may eventually end up in dictionaries. However, I believe that enriching our language with new words is the role of creative writers. You can also be more inventive with your words when writing to family and friends.

But when writing for the business world, I recommend using the everyday, accepted words — ones found in the dictionary. Then your reader is not distracted from the message. Stick to “prioritize.”

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