verb (used with object), west·ern·ized, west·ern·iz·ing.
  1. to influence with ideas, customs, practices, etc., characteristic of the Occident or of the western U.S.
Also especially British, west·ern·ise.

Origin of westernize

First recorded in 1830–40; western + -ize
Related formswest·ern·i·za·tion, nounun·west·ern·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for westernization

Contemporary Examples of westernization

  • Dictators are merely misunderstood, and higher living standards are a symptom of pernicious influences like "westernization".

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Lonely Planet Guide to Dictators and Despots

    Noah Kristula-Green

    August 15, 2012

  • Westernization is the dominant factor in the significant growth of death-wish believers among Muslim women.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Next Wave of Jihadists

    Reuel Marc Gerecht

    March 11, 2010

Historical Examples of westernization

  • Of course it is in externals that Westernization is most pronounced.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

  • The good and the evil of Westernization are alike mostly clearly evident among the ranks of the educated élites.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

  • Once in control of an Oriental country, the European rulers were bound to favour its Westernization for a variety of reasons.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

  • Westernization hurts too many cherished prejudices and vested interests not to arouse chronic resistance.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

  • China remembered the processes of westernization which she had had to answer with the Boxer Uprising in 1900.

    The Pacific Triangle

    Sydney Greenbie

British Dictionary definitions for westernization



  1. (tr) to influence or make familiar with the customs, practices, etc, of the West
Derived Formswesternization or westernisation, 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

Word Origin and History for westernization

1873, noun of action from westernize (see west). Earliest reference is to Japan.

[The mikado's] late rapid and radical progress in westernization (to evolve a word that the Japanese will need) justifies great expectations of him. [Coates Kinney, "Japanning the English Language," "The Galaxy," July-Dec. 1873]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper