I am a little confused when I should be using Optimalization or optimization. Some dictionaries say Optimization is a noun of Optimalization, but I have no idea what they mean by that.

Some of the sentences I would like to use it in:

  • I am writing an '...' plan for this project.
  • I am '...' the plan for this project.
  • Can we '...' the strategy before next meeting?
  • Can you write a '...' strategy before next meeting?

In all of these ways I am trying to make clear we are trying to make something better, improve it, perfect it. 'Optimizing' seems to be the word most used in my business, however it sounds rather awkward to me.


3 Answers 3


Optimum is the base word, and optimize and optimal are verb and adjective forms, respectively (optimally being the adverb form).

It's redundant to "verb-ify" the adjective form of a base word, if there is already a verb form.

English has a number of patterns for turning base words into other parts of speech and probably at some point every possible permutation of base word and suffix has been tried and used somewhere. This doesn't mean you should start using uncommon combinations without very good reason and command of the language, though.

In particular, people who are trying to "sound smart" but aren't actually smart will tend to use words with a more than necessary number of syllables. For example, using the word utilize in resumes when use or other simpler words would work. Optimalize sounds like you're trying to do this. Avoid it even if some dictionary somewhere lists it as valid word, unless you are in a context where optimal has taken on a special meaning (I can't think of one).

  • 2
    Utilize has legitimate utilizations, and incentivize is widely accepted in AmE, but I will heap scorn on valorize and conversate with my deathificationizing breath.
    – choster
    Jul 11, 2017 at 22:18

The status of 'optimalization' as a word is inconclusive even though you can find it in Collin Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary. So I recommend you not use it by any means.

Even Google detects it as a misspelling.

Bryan A. Garner in Garner's Modern English Usage considered it a non-existent word.

optimize (= to make the best use of) is the word, not *optimalize[...]

*optimalize for optimize: Stage 1,
Current ratio (optimized vs. *optimalized): 7,885:1

stage 1 means rejected

So if you want nominalize it, you must use the base "optimize" (NOT optimalize). So it should be "optimization."

  • I don't understand how you can claim it's a non-existent word when it evidently exists. Besides, words have to satisfy certain criteria to enter dictionaries and, further, maybe the verb isn't that commonly used, but the noun is (which the book doesn't explicitly talk about).
    – user3395
    Jul 11, 2017 at 13:04
  • @userr2684291 Perhaps 'non-existent' is too strong a word, but that's how I want it to be. I don't want the OP to use it at all since it's not widely accepted. If "optimalize" is not even a word, how can you attach the suffix to it to form "optimalization"? Jul 11, 2017 at 13:10
  • 1
    Google detecting it as a misspelling is also not a valid reason. I've downvoted your answer, by the way. (: You could've called it an evil word then, which would be equally (in)correct. I don't know what you mean by widely accepted either – I'm gonna go with reputable dictionaries, not wild assumptions. Moreover, I never said optimalization has to come from nominalizing optimalize.
    – user3395
    Jul 11, 2017 at 13:41
  • @userr2684291 - It's more than spell-checkers flagging it as a non-word. OneLook lists more than twenty dictionaries with entries for optimize, but only two with entries for optimalize. Ngrams can't find the word in published works.
    – J.R.
    Jun 10, 2019 at 17:44
  • @J.R. Here's a third one. Once again, dictionaries (or rather the lexicographers behind them) are trustworthy on the issue of "word existence" because they apply compelling, long-standing criteria that decide whether a word ought to have its entry. Whether a word has fallen out of use is another thing. The Google Books Ngram Viewer can't find more than 40 occurences of optimailze, and hence doesn't plot it. It will happily plot optimalize.
    – user3395
    Jun 11, 2019 at 10:56

I would say, "optimalization" comes from other languages where they borrow from "optimal" word. This also seems true in British-English (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/optimalization). In American-English, I believe the only correct form is "optimization".

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