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Wagon vs. waggon

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  • Wagon and waggon are different spellings of the same word meaning, among other things, a sturdy four-wheeled vehicle for transporting things. Waggon was preferred in British English until a century ago,1 and it still appears occasionally, but it is fast becoming archaic. In this century, the shorter one is preferred in all main varieties of English.

     

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    This ngram, which graphs the use of wagon and waggon in a large number of British texts published from 1800 to 2000, shows waggon‘s decline and wagon‘s rise:

    Examples

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    Wagon, as used below, is standard in American English:

    Paddle shifters in a station wagon would seem at first glance about as necessary as a roof rack on a convertible. [Charleston Post Courier]

    Becoming frightened while on Meyer Street, a horse attached to a milk wagon ran away while the driver was delivering milk. [Arizona Daily Star]

    And while waggon used to be the standard spelling in British English, wagon is now far more common. For example, these major British news publications use it:

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