In other words, are all these uses incorrect?

1 Answer 1


It is true that both words refer to something that can be parametrised, although parametrise is not taken in the exact same sense.

In mathematics and physics, parametric means that something can be controlled by a finite set of parameters. Often, you can make choices for this set of parameters, e.g. the plane can be parametrised by abscissa and ordinate of points, or by the distance and bearing angle relative to some origin. But you will not introduce new possibilities by doing so, it is just another set of controls for the same thing.

In technology and IT, parametrisable (also spellt parameterisable, parametrizable, parameterizable) means that values that would by default be regarded as unalterable constants can optionally be turned into tunable parameters.

It makes sense then that different suffixes are used: -ic to describe the state of something being controlled by parameters, -able, able to be parametrised.

  • Did you mean to write parameterisable rather than parametrisable? The latter seems to be even more obscure.
    – user33313
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 20:57
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    Well, Oxford dictionary notes that both variants on the verb are found (although they don't quote the -ise version, which is recognised by my BE spell checker, which btw doesn't admit the version with the 'e'). So I'd say these are just minor spelling variants of the same word.
    – Joce
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 21:01
  • Also more often with a z instead of an s on this side of the pond. Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 15:23
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    @RBarryYoung Oh, that side. Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 17:25
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    @EdwinAshworth We prefer to call it thiz side. Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 14:23

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