[ sen-tuh-men-tl-ahyz ]
/ ˌsɛn təˈmɛn tlˌaɪz /
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verb (used without object), sen·ti·men·tal·ized, sen·ti·men·tal·iz·ing.

to indulge in sentiment.

verb (used with object), sen·ti·men·tal·ized, sen·ti·men·tal·iz·ing.

to view (someone or something) sentimentally: He sentimentalized the relationship until all real meaning was lost.



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Also especially British, sen·ti·men·tal·ise .

Origin of sentimentalize

First recorded in 1790–1800; sentimental + -ize

OTHER WORDS FROM sentimentalize

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does sentimentalize mean?

Sentimentalize means to view or portray someone or something in a way that’s sentimental—one that appeals to sensitive or tender emotions, such as love, nostalgia, or pity.

Sentimentalize and sentimental are based on the sense of the word sentiment that refers to sensitive or tender emotions, sensitivity to such emotions, or appeal to such emotions.

Such terms are especially used to imply that these emotions are exaggerated or overindulged. Sometimes, they imply that these emotions get in the way of thinking logically or being realistic.

People are sometimes criticized for sentimentalizing (or oversentimentalizing), as in Stop sentimentalizing everything and looking at things through rose-colored glasses.  

These kinds of criticisms are especially common in the context of art. For example, a book or film may be criticized as sentimentalizing a historical event. This implies that it portrays the event in an idealized, simplistic, or nostalgic way instead of depicting it accurately and dealing with what really happened.

The words romanticize, idealize, and glamorize are used in similar ways.

Example: Stories that sentimentalize the past as a golden age are often drawing on a false nostalgia and wishing to go back to a time that never really existed.

Where does sentimentalize come from?

The first records of the word sentimentalize come from the late 1700s. The word sentimental is first recorded earlier, in the mid-1700s. The word sentiment is first recorded in the 1300s and comes from the Latin verb sentī(re), meaning “to feel.” The suffix -ize is used to form verbs that indicate a change in state.

When something is sentimentalized, it can have the effect of changing how you feel about it. Often, sentimentalizing something means portraying it or thinking about it in more positive or even idealized terms. Such sentimentalizing is often criticized because it’s done at the expense of seeing how things really are or how they really happened.

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What are some other forms related to sentimentalize?

  • oversentimentalize (verb)
  • sentimentalization (noun)
  • sentimental (noun)

What are some synonyms for sentimentalize?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sentimentalize

What are some words that often get used in discussing sentimentalize?

How is sentimentalize used in real life?

Sentimentalize is often used in a critical way when things are viewed or portrayed in an overly sentimental way.


Try using sentimentalize!

Which of the following words would NOT be used to describe something that has been sentimentalized?

A. realistic
B. idealized
C. romanticized
D. glamorized

How to use sentimentalize in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sentimentalize



/ (ˌsɛntɪˈmɛntəˌlaɪz) /


to make sentimental or behave sentimentally

Derived forms of sentimentalize

sentimentalization or sentimentalisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012