I've found the following word transformation exercise in the book Cambridge English Proficiency 2 (page 51, exercise 17).

All children occasionally ask why we should bother reading. Now, 500 years after Gutenberg’s printing press ___________ DEMOCRACY reading, recent technological advances mean psychologists may be able to find an answer. Using brain scans, they have found we create mental simulations of situations encountered in a book and weave these together with real-life experiences to create a new way of thinking. This is something many of us will understand instinctively when we look back and realise that an outstanding book that we read in the past had an absolutely revolutionary effect on how we view the world. This transformation takes place only when we lose ourselves unconditionally in a book. Studies have found this deep reading makes us more sympathetic, more alert to the inner lives of others.

According to the answer's sheet, the answer of that exercise is democratised or democratized. Cambridge Dictionary shows a single definition for democratize: "to make countries or organizations use democratic ways of making decisions." I can't relate this definition with that context. Could anyone explain what's the meaning of democratize in that context?

  • 3
    Oxford Languages: democratize/ise verb (1) introduce a democratic system or democratic principles to. (2) make (something) accessible to everyone. Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 20:57
  • 2
    You should check more than one dictionary, as Michael Harvey's comment suggests. For example, Merriam-Webster says democratize means to make democratic, and one of the definitions of democratic is relating to, appealing to, or available to the broad masses of the people.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 23:37

1 Answer 1


The dictionary that you looked in provides a rather narrow definition of "democratize", but some others provide a broader definition. For example, the American Heritage Dictionary offers the following:

To make democratic.

Therefore, Gutenberg’s printing press made reading democratic. AHD provides the following definition of "democratic":

Of or for the people in general; popular

Therefore, Gutenberg’s printing press made reading "for the people in general" or "popular".

  • 2
    I would have said "accessible" or "available" (to the people) in this instance. Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 1:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .