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Is the spelling using s as opposed to z really literary as the Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 purportedly explains?

Raze 1. completely destroy place: to destroy or level a building or settlement completely 2. U.S. scrape something: to scrape or shave something off something else

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  • You really need to consult other dictionaries first before coming here. Many of your questions could be settled by a google search of 'definition [your word]'. If you do that and are still unsure, then come here and ask your question, adding what you found by your search and how that wasn't helpful. – Mitch Aug 15 '19 at 12:46
  • @Mitch Garner's reads : raze (= to tear down) is the standard spelling. ✳Rase, a variant, is chiefly BrE. I think BrE is seen as more literary in the USA – GJC Aug 15 '19 at 13:46
  • GJC, you should add that to your question. Also, nowhere in these two quotes is anything mentioned about 'literary'. Fro you quote, Encarta doesn't say anything about 'literary' (however much you might infer). But 1) in general archaisms often do look literary, and 2) rase' instead of 'raze' doesn't look archaic it looks like a misspelling and so not literary at all. – Mitch Aug 15 '19 at 14:36
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I do not think that your question can be answered.

My 60-years-old Shorter Oxford English Dictionary states that 'rase' is archaic, citing a use in the 16th century, and prefers 'raze' citing a use also in the 16th century - a period in which English spelling was by no means settled.

I don't know what evidence is required to show that an archaic usage is literary. It might just have been a spelling mistake. Equally I don't know how you prove that such a usage was NOT literary.

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