Friday, 30 March 2012

Acclimate vs. acclimatise

The last few days I have been talking about heat acclimatisation, but I have also seen some articles that talk about heat acclimation.  This set me wondering what the difference was, and whether I was using the right word or not.

I looked up both words on the Oxford dictionnaries website, and I am still not sure which one I should be using.  My inkling would be that my desert runs are considered to be acclimatisation and that my sauna sessions are considered to be acclimation.  Here are the entries so that you can decide for yourselves.

acclimatize

Pronunciation: /əˈklʌɪmətʌɪz/
(also acclimatise)

verb

[no object] (often acclimatize to or be/become acclimatized to)
  • become accustomed to a new climate or new conditions; adjust: it’s unknown whether people will acclimatize to increasingly warm weather
  • Biology respond physiologically or behaviourally to changes in a complex of environmental factors.
  • [with object] Botany & Horticulture harden off (a plant).

acclimate

Pronunciation: /ˈaklɪmeɪt, əˈklʌɪmət/

verb

[no object] (often acclimate to) chiefly North American
  • acclimatize: helping freshmen to acclimate to college life
  • Biology respond physiologically or behaviourally to a change in a single environmental factor: trees may acclimate to high CO2 levels by reducing the number of stomata.
  • [with object] Botany & Horticulture harden off (a plant).

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