Raise vs Raze? Do They Mean The Same? When To Use Each?


raise vs raize

When we speak, usually due to the location and context it is easy to convey the message of what is being said, even if the words said sound exactly the same one from the other. These words are called homophones, and in this text, we will go over the proper use of “raise” and “raze” as homophones, to learn their meaning and when to use them.

“Raise” is a verb and it is used when referring to lifting or moving something to a higher position. The word “raze”, also a verb, on the other hand, will be used when speaking of the complete destruction of a building, site, town, or otherwise.

Regardless of the similarity in pronunciation, their meanings are complete opposites, we will go over each of these words in detail and provide you with some examples so whenever you use one or the other, you will do so properly.

raise in the dictionary

Origin And Meaning Of The Word “Raise”

The etymology of “raise” is quite wide, this word is connected to Middle English, Old Norse, and Proto-Germanic, just to name a few of the languages where this word was borrowed from. In Middle English it comes from the words “reisen” or “reysen”. In Old Norse, it is connected to the word “reisa” and in Proto-Germanic to the word “raisijiana”. Despite the different roots shown here these all mean the same “to raise or arise”.

The word “raise” falls in the category of verbs, so the most common forms and uses will be found in literature using the infinitive “to raise”, the gerund “raising” or the past tense “raised”. Since “raise” is a regular verb, the past participle form is also going to be “raised”. 

The meaning of the word “raise” is quite broad and applicable to multiple scenarios. If used in the context of construction it could mean “to build up”, for example:

  • The engineers set their minds to raise the wall by the end of the week.

If used in the context of self-realization it could mean “to up your skills”, for example:

  • She got her master’s degree last year, she had her mind set on raising professional status.

If you use this word in a trial or discussion, then it would mean “to express opposition or concern”, for example:

  • The board raised their voice and spoke against the new policy. They felt it would do more harm than good to the community if it were to be approved.

If the word is used to command action from a group of people, for example:

  • The father of the bride asked everyone to raise their glasses in honor of the newlyweds.
  • The leader of the revolution invited the people in the rally to join forces and raise their voices until their demands were heard.

In any case, context or scenario when the word “raise” is used regardless of the conjugation it will mean “to lift up”, “move up”, “to heighten” and “place in a higher position”. 

Origin And Meaning Of The Word “Raze”

The first recorded use of the word “raze” was in the 14th Century. The roots of the word also originated in several languages before coming to be what it is now in Modern English. However, it started from the Latin word “radere” and from the root word “ras”, which literally translates to “scratch”. Later it connected to the French word “raser” which means “to shave closely” and from these, the word was adapted to the Middle English “Raze”. In Middle English, it meant “to scratch or incise”. 

The meaning of the word “raze” nowadays is somewhat different from what it used to be when it first came of use. It means to “completely destroy”, and usually it is used to speak of destroying a town, building, or settlement to the ground. 

Using “raze” in a sentence is much more simple to do than “raise” because the variations and context where this word can be used are more limited. 

Similar to “raise” the word “raze” is also a verb and in that same way when we see it in literature we will find it on the infinitive as “to raze”, the gerund “razing” and the past tense and past participle “razed”.

Synonyms Of “Raise”

Here is a list of synonyms that can be used in sentences where the word “raise” fits:

  1. Lift
  2. Elevate
  3. Uplift
  4. Increase
  5. Escalate
  6. Step up
  7. Rise up
  8. Bump Up
  9. Increment
  10. Add up

building razing

Synonyms Of “Raze”

Here is a list of words that you could use instead of “raze” for writing or speaking:

  1. Destroy
  2. Demolish
  3. Tear Down
  4. Flatten
  5. Level
  6. Wipeout
  7. Bulldoze
  8. Knock Down
  9. Wreck
  10. Flatten

How To Use “Raise” When Writing

In the majority of applications, the use of the word “raise” will be as we have mentioned and demonstrated above, as a verb with its different variants. However, “raise” can be a noun form too, this form can only be used to say your salary has increased.

Examples Of “Raise” And Its Variations In A Sentence

  1. She always said she thought she could raise the baby on her own if it came down to it. However, now that is the situation it looks like she could use all the help she can get.
  2. It is hard to believe that even with all the money we raised for charity last year we still had so many people in need.
  3. My hometown is the best place to raise children. Schools are close by, the inflation is not that bad so you can more bang for your buck and the crime rate is relatively low compared to the rest of the country.
  4. The students made so much noise that it caused the teacher to raise his head and scream at them to keep it down.
  5. They were the type to raise a family in the most unorthodox way you could imagine. 
  6. My doctor advised me to get off the fried food and reduce the number of eggs I eat in a week, he thinks my diet is the reason why my cholesterol has gone up.
  7. My bedroom in college was so small sometimes I barely had room to raise my hands up when I was walking. All I had room for was sleeping and sitting at my desk.
  8. She was so angry with him that all the time he was in front of her, regardless of all the apologies and how sorry he said he was, she never even blinked, let alone raised her eyes to meet his gaze.
  9. Her parents desired her to marry and be well off, but she didn’t. Her parents were very disappointed and told her they raised her to be better than that.
  10. Whenever they saw something that they did not agree with I would catch them raising an eyebrow in contempt. 

How To Use “Raze” When Writing

The proper use of the word “raze” when we write it as a verb, we have gone over this in part in the above section, and as we said previously it will mainly be used this way when we write. However, just like “raise”, “raze” too has a noun form that is used in writing to communicate the utter devastation or destruction of a building. This form is similar to the gerund in its spelling, so it is “razing” and it is normally written after particle “the”.

For example, 

  • The razing of the old community buildings was truly an expert job, not a single brick fell out of place.

Examples Of “Raze” And Its Variations In A Sentence

  1. The people on the border made sure to raze the wall. Every day when the workers laid their last brick they would show up to knock it all down.
  2. The City decided that razing the old playground was for the best. At this point, it was a hazard for both children and adults. They claimed it would be rebuilt in no time so it would be as if it never happened.
  3. The war was so ruthless that all that remained was the razing of every building to the ground.
  4. I had never seen such power and expertise in a female builder. She razed that entire wall on her own in a matter of minutes without so much of stopping for breath.
  5. The Landlord commanded the contractors to raze the building to the ground immediately, not a single moment more was to be wasted.
  6. I am in the razing business. My fleet is the best in all of the Northern States, we have worked with structures of all sizes and materials and demolish each one successfully.
  7. After the razing of the village, all there was left was smoke, dust, and ruins.
  8. We were hired to raze the place and we razed the place. It is what we do, we are in the business of destruction not in building up.
  9. A month before the decision to raze the villas there was an uprising of the tenants but ultimately they understood there was nothing more to be done so they packed their bags and finally the place was destroyed.
  10. I had never seen a razing before, it is quite shocking to see how such a big structure can disappear in a matter of seconds.

recap spelled in wood

Conclusion

Whether you are to use “raise” or “raze” it is certain no mistakes will be made now that we have elaborated and shown everything there is to and consider about both these words. 

So, if you “raise” any doubts on your skills and knowledge to use these words correctly make sure to “raze” those doubts to the ground and carry on.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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