Civilise vs. civilize

Outside North America, civilise is the spelling for the word which means to bring a place or people to a stage of increased social standards. In North America, it is spelled civilize. The spelling change runs throughout all forms of the word. Examples According to a study published in Current Anthropology, our transition into modern civilization might have coincided with our species' drop in testosterone. [Washington Post] A thousand years before Rome or Christ or Buddha, there existed a … [Read more...]


Nascent is an adjective used to describe something as newly formed or just beginning to be. Sometimes used to describe something with the potential for growth. It can be pronounced with either and long or short /a/ sound (nay cent or naa cent) in the US, while England uses the long /a/ sound exclusively. The noun form is nascence or nascency. Examples Now that the proposals on constitutional amendments were tabled in Parliament, as a student of constitutional law, I would like to look at … [Read more...]

Improvise vs. improvize

In an instance of agreement, the proper spelling is the same everywhere in the English-speaking world: improvise. It means to speak without preparation or invent something using the materials at hand. Examples However, the actress says that the western dance helps her to improvise and fine tune skills as a dancer. [Times of India] Welcome to Suspects, an hour-long, case-of-the-week police procedural for Channel Five that's unique in that the dialogue is completely improvised. [The … [Read more...]

Flip one’s lid vs. flip one’s wig

To flip one's lid and flip one's wig mean to suddenly lose control to some emotion, either anger or excitement. Flipping your wig is more commonly found in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an old phrase, but was born in North America in the 1980's. Examples Momma Dee flips her wig until it’s revealed it was only a promise ring. [Urban Daily] City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew flipped his lid at a national union gathering last month while defending Common … [Read more...]

Rancor vs. rancour

Rancor is defined as bitterness or resent. It is spelled rancor in the US, and rancour outside the US. Examples It of course also left "a legacy of political rancor and racial hatred so intense" that it guaranteed the world war that would follow 20 years later, which by Keegan's calculation was five times as destructive of human life. [Wall Street Journal] Actually, we owe our gratitude (or rancor, depending on your perspective) not so much to what the Sixers have done over the past two … [Read more...]

Rejig vs. rejigger

Both rejig and rejigger mean to rearrange an object. Rejigger is the preferred form in the US, and outside the US the standard is rejig. Examples UTI Asset Management Company is keen on a rejig in shareholding so that the mutual fund can become an independent asset management company. [Calcutta Telegraph] Sources said Chennithala had a meeting with Chandy the other day in which he has made it clear that the rejig should not be done at the cost of the 'I' group ministers. [Times of … [Read more...]

Baptise vs. baptize

Baptise is the preferred spelling outside North America; as well as: baptised and baptising. For North America the standard is baptize, baptizing, baptized. However, baptism is used everywhere. Examples in North America: On Sunday, the Romano family was on the brink of a new life - they had moved to Burlington from Winnipeg and were on their way to Argentina to baptize their 15-month-old son Lucca. [Toronto Star] Baldwin was baptized into the LDS Church in May, just one week after her … [Read more...]

Smokey vs. smoky

Smokey is a proper noun and first name, whereas smoky is an adjective referring to an object being filled with or smelling of smoke. Until recently smokey was an accepted spelling of smoky in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, it is now thought of as old-fashioned.   Examples Elsewhere, the choice ran from interesting daily specials, such as lamb kofta, to tasty, fashionable sandwiches, such as a New York deli-style pastrami, or the Smokey Jo – smoked pork, smoked cheese, … [Read more...]

Orthopedic vs. orthopaedic

Orthopedic is the Americanized version of the word orthopaedic. Both refer to the medical specialty focusing on the body’s musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopaedic comes from the Greek orthos (straight) and paidion (child), which suggests the practice began with a focus on children. The spellings are virtually interchangeable in the United States. However, an institution may use the more original form of spelling to associate … [Read more...]

Enrol vs. enroll

The verb meaning to sign up or to register is spelled enroll in the U.S. Enrol, with one l, is the preferred spelling outside North America. The more American spelling is now preferred in Canadian news publications, but enrol was traditionally more common and still appears in many contexts. The spelling difference extends to enrollment (American English) and enrolment (outside the U.S.), but it doesn't extend to enrolled and enrolling, which everywhere are spelled with two l's. The word … [Read more...]

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