Yoghurt vs. yogurt

For the curdled-milk-based, custardlike food with a tart flavor, yoghurt is the preferred spelling in the main varieties of English from outside North America. Yogurt is preferred in American and Canadian English. They are variant spellings of the same word, and neither has any meanings all its own. A third spelling, yoghourt, is rare in this century.

The word, which came from Turkish around the early 17th century,1 had many spellings through its early years in English, including yoghurd, yogourt, and yahourt.2 In British English, yoghourt, yoghurt, and yogurt vied for ascendancy through the middle 20th century, but by 2000 yoghurt was more common by a large margin.3 The North American spelling was settled around 1960.4

Examples

Outside North America

For yoghurt, Danone buys raw milk locally but only from large dairy farms. [Financial Times]

It’s more than likely the appetiser of creamy curried lentil and yoghurt soup. [Sydney Morning Herald]

This means bags, yoghurt pots and supermarket packaging no longer need to be sorted separately. [Guardian]

North America

Those products would likely include milk, yogurt and rice, which are essentially 100% domestically controlled. [Wall Street Journal]

Try fruit and nuts, a decaf latte (or yogurt) and a piece of fruit, bean soup, whole grain crackers (Wasa, Ryvita and FinnCrisp are low glycemic) and part skim cheese. [Globe and Mail]

But some experts worry that the benefits of probiotics will be diluted as the substances move beyond their yogurt and milk base. [Los Angeles Times]

Sources

1. Chambers Dictionary of Etymology
2. Yogurt in the OED
3. Ngram of yogurt, yoghurt, and yoghourt in British books, 1900-2000
4. Ngram of yogurt, yoghurt, and yoghourt in British books, 1900-2000

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