Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 2, 2020 is:

cosmeticize • kahz-MET-uh-syze  • verb

: to make (something unpleasant or ugly) superficially attractive


The documentary takes a hard look at life in the camp, never once cosmeticizing the experience of its inhabitants.

“This time around, [Florian Henckel] von Donnersmarck is striving to deliver an epic that’s palatable to wider audiences. But in cosmeticizing the painter’s life, making this more of a love story crossed with wartime intrigue, he has overshot his target. With a little more truth, Never Look Away could have been really beautiful.” — Andrea Gronvall, The Chicago Reader, 15 Feb. 2019

Did you know?

Cosmeticize first appeared in print in the early 19th century as a descendant of the noun cosmetic. Originally, its use was often literal, with the meaning “to apply a cosmetic to,” but today it is more frequently used figuratively. Cosmeticize does occasionally draw criticism; usage commentators are sometimes irritated by verbs coined using -ize as they can sound like silly nonce words. Cosmeticize is fairly well established, however, in contrast with the two other rarer verbs that have been derived from cosmetic: cosmetize and the homograph cosmetic, which often turn up in literal senses (“cosmetize the face”; “a face cosmeticked with bright rouge”).

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