I know 'colonised' is used more often but that has a different meaning. Would you use 'colonialised' in a sentence to talk about "converting an item to look like its from the colonial era"?

For example: You are remodeling some furniture,say table and you want it to look like its from the colonial era. Can you use it in a sentence as "This table has been colonialised."

This doubt has been bugging me for some time and I know this question seems a bit odd.But, its my first question here and this website seems like the perfect place where I can get some decent explanation about it.

Not much explanation here:

Dictionary.com - Colonialization

Merriam-Webster - Colonialization

  • 2
    NO you wouldn’t use colonized in that sense. You would probably refer to colonial style.
    – user 66974
    Jan 29, 2020 at 20:04
  • The question is about using colonialised, not colonised. Apologies for any confusion Jan 29, 2020 at 20:06
  • 4
    There might be a niche usage in say the furniture trade, using the rarer variant to cue for a non-default sense, but it doesn't seem mainstream (from Google searches). Jan 29, 2020 at 20:15

4 Answers 4


Colonialized would not be used in this case. "Colonial Style" would be better.

This is one of those dangerous words that has wildly different connotations depending on speaker and listener.

Straight forward: To have formed a colony -- an offshoot of the original culture in a new place.

Connotation: Hardship, privation. Suffer while building a new life.

Connotation: To assert that Our Way is the One True Path and Your Way is Trash

Connotation: To run roughshod over local cultures, killing, raping, destroying their culture.


The word ‘colonial’ in the sense you mean is I think the one which refers to a particular set of colonies, namely, the those in the Caribbean and much in evidence along the Hawaiian Keys.

Provided that context (if my inference is correct) is made clear, yes: there is nothing wrong with using this slightly metaphorical sense of colonialisation, preferably with single (‘scare’) quotes to warn a reader not to imagine that his veranda or easy chair is about to be taken over or settled into by a passing explorer. English likes sensible stretching of use: it is one of the things that makes it so flexible and open to change.

  • 1
    You're suggesting scare quotes where OP was using highlight quotes. Could be confusing. Also, many users of English like a balance between progress and established usage. Jan 29, 2020 at 20:51

The Oxford English Dictionary has a significant entry on the various uses of colonial. Sense 1b relates exactly to the American meaning of "from the colonial era".

1b. Belonging to, or characteristic of, the period of the colonies, esp. of architecture or furniture. North American.

1886 Harper's Mag. Oct. 668/1 The building has rather a colonial character with its long corridors and pillared piazzas.

1892 R. Kipling Lett. of Trav. (1920) 21 The Colonial craze, which means white paint and fluted pillars.

1939 A. Toynbee Study of Hist. VI. 60 The Americans use the term ‘Colonial’ for the eighteenth-century style of architecture which the English call ‘Georgian’.

1968 Globe & Mail (Toronto) 13 Feb. 30/5 (advt.) Custom built Colonial home, five charming bedrooms on second floor.

There is a single, brief, entry in the OED for a verb colonialize albeit, described as an "isolated use".

transitive. To make colonial. Apparently an isolated use. 1864 E. A. Murray Ella Norman I. 190 If you remain here, in a few years you will be colonialized.

The fact that it is spelled with a Z suggests it is of American origin.

The meaning "to make colonial" is vague. But it would seem perfectly reasonable to use colonialize for the sense you describe.

There is no entry for colonialized but if it exists as verb it must have a past participle, and past tense.


No, a table wouldn't be colonialized.

To colonialize a group of people, you use a combination of aggression, threats, attacks, lies, bribes and ingratiation, to set up a colonial, corrupt system.

We were seduced into playing along with the new "supports" for agriculture. We've been colonialized. We can't escape now. We've become dependent on their fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and crop insurance. There's no way out. We're stuck on the hamster wheel now.

When you make a table look antique, you can then describe it as "antiqued" or "distressed."

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