British Spelling Vs. American Spelling: Linguistically At Odds

British and American words
Having doubts regarding American vs British spellings and words? Here are the most commonly used words that might be the cause for confusion...
Pile of Words on white
Did You Know?
With a speaking-population of 500+ million, English, an official first language in 57 countries, is the second-most spoken language in the world, and has its origin from Britain, where settlers from parts of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark brought along with them certain dialects to this region.
The first known inhabitants of the United States were the Native Americans (Indians). Then the Europeans arrived and colonized the country. The most influential in all aspects were the British, and hence, English was most widely spoken all over. With passing times, even the language changed slightly, and now we have American English. Commonwealth countries follow British English, whereas the rest of the world goes more with American English. Between both types, many words that are actually the same meaning have different spellings, while many things that have the same meanings are termed differently. Oh well! Let's just have a look at some examples, and things will be much clearer.

Same Word, Different Spelling

Here, we will have a look at some differences, or in other words, a comparison between British and American spelling conventions.

BRITISH
AMERICAN

ageing
aging
aluminium
aluminum
amphitheatre
amphitheater
analogue
analog
analyse
analyze
annexe
annex
appetiser
appetizer
apologise
apologize
archaeology
archeology
arguement
argument
armour
armor
arse
ass
axe
ax
behaviour
behavior
behove
behoove
bogeyman
boogeyman
carburettor
carburetor
catalogue
catalog
catalyse
catalyze
centre
center
centimetre
centimeter
cheque
check
chequer
checker
chilli
chili
civilise
civilize
criticise
criticize
colonise
colonize
colour
color
cosy
cozy
counselling
counseling
cypher
cipher
defence
defense
dialogue
dialog
doughnut
donut
draught
draft
dreamt
dreamed
emphasise
emphasize
encyclopaedia
encyclopedia
enrolment
enrollment
equalling
equaling
excelling
exceling
favourite
favorite
fibre
fiber
flavour
flavor
foetus
fetus
fuelled
fueled
fulfill
fulfil
furore
furor
glycerine
glycerin
grey
gray
gynaecology
gynecology
harbour
harbor
honour
honor
humour
humor
instalment
installment
jewellery
jewelry
judgement
judgment
kilometre
kilometer
labour
labor
leapt
leaped
learnt
learned
licence
license
litre
liter
louvre
louver
leukaemia
leukemia
lustre
luster
manoeuvre
maneuver
marvellous
marvelous
mediaeval
medieval
memorise
memorize
metre
meter
mementoes
mementos
modelling
modeling
monologue
monolog
mould
mold
moult
molt
moustache
mustache
mum
mom
neighbour
neighbor
neurone
neuron
oestrogen
estrogen
offence
offense
omelette
omelet
organise
organize
orthopaedic
orthopedic
paediatric
pediatric
palaeontology
paleontology
parallelled
paralleled
phoney
phony
popularise
popularize
practise
practice
pretence
pretense
prise
prize
programme
program
pyjamas
pajamas
plough
plow
quarrelling
quarreling
realise
realize
recognise
recognize
rumour
rumor
saviour
savior
sceptic
skeptic
signalling
signaling
skilful
skillful
speciality
specialty
spectre
specter
storey
story
sulphur
sulfur
theatre
theater
titbit
tidbit
toxaemia
toxemia
travelling
traveling
tyre
tire
vice
vise
woollen
woolen
yoghurt
yogurt

The British way of spelling words usually involves the 'u' or an 'll', whereas American spellings mostly do away with the 'u' and also has a single 'l'.

Same Meaning, Different Word

Over here, we shall see some words that actually mean the same thing, though completely different terms are used for referring to them in the British and American English language styles.

banger
sausage
bloke
guy
car boot
car trunk
bin
trash can
bonnet
hood
car park
parking lot
biscuit
cookie
caravan
motor home
chemist
pharmacist
chips
fries
cinema
movie theater
crisps
potato chips
dummy
pacifier
football
soccer
full stop
period
flyover
overpass
braces
suspenders
holiday
vacation
jam
jelly
jumper
sweater
lift
elevator
loo
bathroom
lorry
truck
maize
corn
mince
chopped beef
motorway
highway
nappy
diaper
nought
nothing
number plate
license plate
kerosene
paraffin
pavement
sidewalk
petrol
gas
plaster
band-aid
post
mail
postal code
zip code
college
university
queue
line
row
argument
rubber
eraser
serviette
napkin
silencer
muffler
solicitor
lawyer
tin
can
torch
flashlight
car park
parking lot
gearbox
transmission
spanner
wrench
anti-clockwise
counter-clockwise
barrister
attorney
crossroads
intersection
diversion
detour
driving licence
driver's license
dustbin
garbage/trash can
mad
crazy, insane
maths
math
motorbike
motorcycle
postbox
mailbox
postman
mailman
pub
bar
railway
railroad
return ticket
round trip
sweets
candy
timetable
schedule
whisky
whiskey
zip
zipper
hoarding
billboard
puncture
blowout
current account
checking account
porridge
oatmeal
mason
stone/brickworker
prawn
shrimp
sellotape
Scotch tape
tram
trolley car
zebra crossing
pedestrian crossing
constable
officer
coach
intercity bus
trousers
pants
waistcoat
vest
windscreen
windshield
pram
baby carriage
roundabout
traffic circle
polo neck
turtleneck
primary
preschool
staff
employee
head lamp
headlight
cardigan
sweater
frock
dress
knickers
panties
couch
sofa
cupboard
closet
garden
yard
loft
attic
tap
faucet
coriander
cilantro
take-away
to go
chat show
talk show
counterfoil
stub
CV
resume
fair
carnival
gum
glue
parcel
package
pay packet
pay check
post mortem
autopsy
property
real estate
purse
wallet
reception
lobby
shop
store
share
stock
tick
check
tube
subway
toilet
restroom
fill up
top up
aerial
antenna
headmaster
principal
tarmac
asphalt
air hostess
flight attendant
alsatian
German shepherd
bank holiday
legal holiday
caretaker
janitor
casualty department
emergency room
coffin
casket
extra time
overtime
goods train
freight train
insect
bug
jug
pitcher
label
tag
lager
beer
luggage
baggage
match
game
mixer
blender
parliament
congress
prison
jail
jelly
jello
stock
inventory
quarrel
argument
trainers
sneakers
curtains
drapes
break
recess
compere
emcee
frying pan
skillet
pupil
student
plait
braid
basin
sink
mudguard
fender
timber yard
lumberyard
valuer
appraiser
city centre
downtown
adverts
commercial break
bookstall
newsstand
fringe
bangs

British and American spelling differences are very minor, but at the same time are very important to know. Here, we have seen quite a few words, some that are actually the same word with just a slight difference in the spelling, whereas others mean the same thing, but the words used for them are altogether different.
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