Help! I can't spell this word!

I am writing something and I must be pretty dumb. I am trying to use the word that is a little like evangilize, preach or to “witness”. I am so far off on the spelling that all the online dictionaries and my spell-checks don’t even offer me any suggestions when I try to spell it.

Here it is: “prosthetylize” or maybe “prosthelyze”

Is this even a word? Did I dream it? Can anybody help me? I am going a little crazy and I am on a deadline. I could use another word, but I want this one. (If it IS actually a word!)



pros·e·ly·tize Pronunciation (prs-l-tz)
v. pros·e·ly·tized, pros·e·ly·tiz·ing, pros·e·ly·tiz·es

  1. To induce someone to convert to one’s own religious faith.
  2. To induce someone to join one’s own political party or to espouse one’s doctrine.
    To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.
    prose·ly·ti·zation (-t-zshn) n.
    prose·ly·tizer n.


Thank you both so much! I am a little embarrassed to not know the spelling of this, but it doesn’t seem that I was so far off that not one spell-check algorithm out of maybe 4 or 5 could correct my spelling. Anyway, thanks again. Gotta get on with the writing.

This thread is another argument in favor of paper-and-ink dictionaries. The one I just looked at had only eleven entries beginning with “pros”. One could easily look up “prosthetylize”, and then (when you see that it isn’t there) find the correct word on the page that you’re already looking at.

Google is good for helping with spelling. I put your “prosthelyze” in and it cameback with “Did you mean: prostelyze”

  1. To induce someone to attach an artifical limb.

In this case, it sounds like Google isn’t really much help, because that’s not the correct spelling, either.

And how are you supposed to pronounce that again? Prsltz? :dubious:

Its like trying to pronounce literature all over again…

I was so surprised by this that I tried it myself, and then clicked on it. I got “Results 1 - 10 of about 776 for prostelyze”. Apparently, 776 was a high enough number that Google considers it, well, maybe not a “real word”, but a “string of letters which is sufficiently common that people might want to search for it”.

And I suppose that makes a lot of sense, considering how many trademarks and slang words someone might want to loof for despite not appearing in a dictionary. The next questions, then, are these: What’s the algorithm that Google uses to come up with alternate spellings, and why did it decide to go with prostelyze (776 hits) rather than proselytize (806,000 hits).

I think some of the IPA symbols representing vowels got lost in the C&Ping.

I don’t know why I feel compelled to say “prostelitize”, but I do.

Yes, they were rendered as graphics in between the text letters.

originally a Christian who converts to Judaism

Well, to go from “prosthelyze” to “prostelyze” you only need to remove the H. But to tranform it into “proselytize”, you need to remove the H, move the T quite some distance, and conjure up an I. In this particular instance it’s easy enough for a human (such as blinkingblinking*) to do by sight, but a human would probably find it harder to recognise “posezlytiwe” as the same word, even though its “distance” from the correct spelling is exactly the same.

I’m sure Google’s algorithm involves a lot more than randomly shuffling letters around and seeing what works, but even today’s most advanced pattern-recognition algorithm is no match for the human brain.

*I’m assuming that blinkingblinking is a human. If I’m wrong, I sincerely apologise for any offence caused.

Definitions offered here; I find it really useful when an odd term like this is; understanding the historical construction of the word.

Here you go: from this site:

Noun, A person who loudly and exhaustively attempts to covert you to their religion, for payment. See also: “Televangeslut”, “Prayer Circle Jerk”, and “Sinistry”.



To add abit on here; the distinction is made with newcomers to any tradition. That distinction indicates a thought-out process of development; a proselyte, in getting the gist of whatever tradition, really feels the need to talk about their discovery, where those who have a greater knowledge, and deeper understanding, are more discreet with yammering about it.

That’s why that term exists, as illustrated by my link. It’s like “sophomoric” in University terms. You are smart, but not that smart. Make sense???

A thesaurus also works well in these cases. Surprised nobody has mentioned that–first resource I would have looked at. It’s right there under “convert.”

I checked my paper and ink dictionary and became extra frustrated when I couldn’t find it in there. My dictionary has about 30 “pros” words. I’m afraid I only looked in the “prost” words—not up in the “prose” ones because I was pretty sure (wrongly so) about the “prost” part.