I’m looking for an equivalent to “Anglicize”, essentially, but “Italicize” has an existing definition that seems to refer exclusively to typefaces, which complicates things.

For instance, it sounds fine to say that the name Joseph is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew name Yosef, but it sounds weird to say that Giuseppe is an Italicized version of Joseph, because your brain just reads that as “it became cursive...?”

But it also sounds unwieldy to say “A version of the word made to sound Italian”. Is there a more-or-less commonly accepted single word or succinct phrase for this?


1 Answer 1


You are correct: the verb italicize is limited to printing in italics. (Curiously, non-italic typeface is referred to as Roman). Cursive, while also slanted, is characterized by connected letters.

The more general verb is

Italianize (v.)

Transitive. To make Italian in character or style.

She Italianised her Christian name.
The Hall was new wainscoted and thoroughly Italianized. OED

Make Italian in form or character.

Some migrated to Italy where they Italianized their names Lexico

italicize (v.)

1: To print in italics or underscore with a single line

The microphone italicizes every curdled top note m-w

Even Joan Sutherland was urged to Italianize her name. Jack Gottlieb; Funny, It Doesn't Sound Jewish (2004)

Durward Lyall is a Scotchman by birth, who, we are informed, "will probably Italianize his name, and, on the completion of his studies at Milan, make his public debût on the stage." May we suggest that Mr. Lyall has a very good singing name of his own, which there is no need to "Italianize?" The Musical Standard, Jan. 30, 1875

After the establishment of the new governorship, the Italians began a drive to Italianize the annexed territories, as they had worked to Italianize Istria, the Slovene Littoral, and other South Slavic areas acquired after the First World War. Jozo Tomasevich; War and Revolution in Yugoslavia, 1941-1945 (2002)

The difference was the Fiume's 1919 law allowed Fiumians to voluntarily Italianize their family names, without any standards, guidelines, or requirements except that the new surnames had to be "strictly Italian" and could not replicate those of patrician or famous families. D. K. Reill; The Fiume Crisis (2020)

There is also a much less common verb:


To render Italian; to give an Italian character to; to Italianize.

Soft and voluptuous measures Italianating the rude tongues of the preceding generation. OED


At the same time, the Italian could still exert a certain fascination. In medical matters it was enough to call oneself 'a Padua doctor' to secure success. 'Tis but Italianating my name, garb, language, and habit, and the Segnior Quackquinto may practice', says the English mountebank in Francis Quarles's The Virgin Widow, first performed in the 1640s. David Gentilcore; Medical Charlatanism in Early Modern Italy

In Canton, Larmour built Grace Church, its adjoining parsonage, and the Odd Fellows Hall, and he may have been responsible for Italianating the David Fulton House with a three-story tower flanked by twin front-facing gables, created around 1855. Patti Carr Black; Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980

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