cosmetic, cosmeticize, and cosmetize

   A cosmetic can be a preparation, such as a powder or cream applied to the skin as makeup, usually intended to beautify the human body, especially the face. Common examples are lipstick, rouge, eyeliner, and mascara. Cosmetics have also been used to disguise or in some other way to change the appearance of an actor or another type of performer. Examples of theatrical cosmetics include pancakes and greasepaints. "Cosmetic" is also used to refer to something artificial that is used to cover a deficit, defect, or irregularity; making something unpleasant or ugly superficially attractive. "Cosmeticize" is a verb form that first appeared in print in the early 19th century. Originally, its use was often literal, with the meaning "to apply a cosmetic to," but today it is usually used figuratively. Some usage commentators have opposed the legitimacy of "cosmeticize", irritated by the proliferation of verbs coined using "-ize". So many such formations are silly, one-time words. However, "cosmeticize" is fairly well-established in contrast with the two other, rarer verbs that have been derived from "cosmetic": "cosmetize," which often turns up in the literal sense that has been mostly lost from "cosmeticize" ("cosmetize the face"), and "cosmetic," which can be literal or figurative ("cosmeticked with bright rouge"; "embellished and cosmeticked"). (pr. kahz-meh'tik, kahz-meh'tuh-size, and kahz'meh-tize)

Glossary of Art Terms. 2014.

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