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I am having some difficulty wording a title for a paper of mine. I am going for something like, "Automatic text iconification". Which means an automatic method of giving text a symbolic representation.

However, online dictionaries are not helping:

  • iconification is found on wiktionary but not webster or reference.com
  • iconify is not found on webster and the case seems weird if I used "iconifing"

What word/tense do I use to make this correct?

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The present participle should be spelled "iconifying". – Peter Shor Feb 4 '13 at 19:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for iconize. Its earliest, and obsolete, meaning is ‘to form into an image; to figure, to represent’, and is illustrated by a citation from 1678. From 1986 it is found in the computing industry to mean ‘to transform (a window) into an icon; to represent (a function or program) with an icon.’ An alternative is iconify.

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So would iconization be correct? – Austin Henley Feb 4 '13 at 8:00
@AustinHenley en.wiktionary.org/wiki/iconisation – coleopterist Feb 4 '13 at 8:22
More interestingly, does this mean automatic iconification of text, or iconification of automatic text? The structure supports either interpretation. The -ific- (rather than -iz-) internal, btw, is a fossilized remnant of the Latin verb facere 'make, do', which indicates (normally conscious) volition involved in the change. – John Lawler Feb 4 '13 at 14:45

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