• (British) IPA: /ˈmɒ.ɹə.laɪz/

moralize (moralizes, present participle moralizing; past and past participle moralized)

  1. (intransitive) To make moral reflections (on, upon, about or over something); to regard acts and events as involving a moral.
    • 1589, Robert Greene (dramatist), Menaphon, London: Sampson Clarke, “Arcadia,”
      […] his Ladie reaching him a Marigold, he began to moralize of it thus merely. I meruaile the Poets that were so prodigall in painting the amorous affection of the Sunne to his Hyacinth, did neuer obserue the relation of loue twixt him and the Marigold:
    • 1741, Samuel Richardson, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, London: S. Richardson and J. Osborn,, Volume 3, Letter 8, p. 38,
      […] I shall not make an unworthy Correspondent altogether; for I can get into thy grave Way, and moralize a little now-and-then:
    • 1847, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Chapter 17,
      One hoped, and the other despaired: they chose their own lots, and were righteously doomed to endure them. But you’ll not want to hear my moralising, Mr. Lockwood; you’ll judge, as well as I can, all these things:
    • 1908, Arnold Bennett, The Old Wives' Tale, Chapter 8,
      The usual conduct of the spoilt child! Had she not witnessed it, and moralized upon it, in other families?
    • 1991, Saul Bellow, “Something to Remember Me By” in Something to Remember Me By: Three Tales, New York: Viking, p. 206,
      I depended on Philip now, for I had nothing, not even seven cents for carfare. I could be certain, however, that he wouldn’t moralize at me, he’d set about dressing me, he’d scrounge a sweater among his neighborhood acquaintances […]
  2. (transitive) To say (something) expressing a moral reflection or judgment.
    • 1849, Charlotte Brontë, Shirley (novel), Chapter 27,
      “Unless I heard the whole repeated I cannot continue it,” she said.
      “Yet it was quickly learned—‘soon gained, soon gone,’” moralized the tutor.
    • 1929, Virginia Woolf, “Geraldine and Jane” in The Common Reader, Second Series, London: The Hogarth Press, 1935, p. 191,
      “The more one loves, the more helpless one feels”, she moralised.
  3. (transitive) To render moral; to correct the morals of; to give the appearance of morality to.
    • 1647, Robert Baron (poet), Erotopaignion, or, The Cyprian Academy, London, p. 61,
      Let gratefull Aromatick odours burne,
      Let pious incense smoake, for the returne
      Of Great Flaminius, in whom abide
      More Art, then raised Athens to her pride,
      More civill Ethicks he containe, then may
      Well moralize all sauage India.
    • 1809, David Ramsay (historian), The History of South-Carolina: from Its First Settlement in 1670, to the Year 1808, Charleston: for the author, Volume 2, Chapter 11, p. 449,
      In estimating the value of cotton, its capacity to excite industry among the lower classes of people […] is of high importance. It has had a large share in moralizing the poor white people of the country.
    • 1940, George Orwell, “Charles Dickens” in Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus (eds.) The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968, Volume 1, p. 426,
      He sees the idiocy of an educational system founded on the Greek lexicon and the wax-ended cane; on the other hand, he has no use for the new kind of school that is coming up in the ’fifties and ’sixties, the “modern” school, with its gritty insistence on “facts”. What, then, does he want? As always, what he appears to want is a moralised version of the existing thing—the old type of school, but with no caning, no bullying or underfeeding, and not quite so much Greek.
    • 1952, Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudun, New York: Harper & Row, Chapter 11, p. 301,
      Far more dangerous than crimes of passion are the crimes of idealism—the crimes which are instigated, fostered and moralized by hallowed words.
  4. (transitive) To give a moral quality to; to affect the moral quality of, either for better or worse.
    • 1716, Sir Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, Part 3, in Religio Medici; its sequel Christian Morals, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1844, p. 211,
      For since good and bad stars moralize not our actions, and neither excuse nor commend, acquit or condemn our good or bad deeds at the present or last bar […] not celestial figures, but virtuous schemes must denominate and state our actions.
    • 1927, J. B. S. Haldane “The Time Factor in Medicine” in Possible Worlds and Other Essays, London: Chatto and Windus, 1930,
      The attempts which are made in such [school] courses [on ‘hygiene’] to make as many physiological phenomena as possible point a moral, and to suppress the rest, are reminiscent of the analogous attempts to moralize zoology which were made by the authors of mediaeval bestiaries.
    • 1948, Gilbert Murray, Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus: Translated into English rhyming verse with Introduction and Notes, London: George Allen & Unwin, Preface, p. 9,
      He makes no attempt to moralize his gods or to pass any moral judgement upon them.
    • 1978, Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Chapter 6, p. 43,
      With the advent of Christianity, which imposed more moralized notions of disease […] , a closer fit between disease and “victim” gradually evolved.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To apply to a moral purpose; to explain in a moral sense; to draw a moral from.
    • circa 1599 William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1,
      Did he not moralize this spectacle?
    • 1654, Henry King (poet), The Psalmes of David from the New Translation of the Bible Turned into Meter, London: Humphrey Moseley, Preface,
      […] where the Place is obscure, and the Construction difficult, I take leave by paraphrase to give the Meaning: which is a method of times observed by the Septuagint, whose Version Moralizeth in the Greek, what was wrapp’d up in figures by the Hebrew.
    • 1692, Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists with Morals and Reflexions, London: R. Sare et al., Fable 76, A Dog in a Manger, Reflexion, p. 75,
      This Fable is so well known that it is Moralliz’d in a Common Proverb.
    • 1766, Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield, London: F. Newbery, Chapter 13, p. 126,
      I was going to moralize this fable, when our attention was called off to a warm dis|pute between my wife and Mr. Burchell […]
    • 1781, Thomas Warton, The History of English Poetry, London: J. Dodsley et al., Volume 3, Section 43, pp. 498-499,
      In the The Faerie Queene, allegory is wrought upon chivalry, and the feats and figments of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table are moralised.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To supply with moral lessons, teachings, or examples; to lend a moral to.
    • 1793, William Wordsworth, “Pleasures of the Pedestrian” in Poems by William Wordsworth: including Lyrical Ballads, and the Miscellaneous Pieces of the Author, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1815, Volume 1, p. 70,
      Kind Nature’s charities his steps attend,
      In every babbling brook he finds a friend,
      While chast’ning thoughts of sweetest use, bestowed
      By Wisdom, moralize his pensive road.

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.004
Offline English dictionary