Draft vs. draught

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In British English, draught is used primarily for (1) a current of air, (2) an animal that pulls loads, (3) a load pulled by such an animal, (4) a portion of liquid, and (5) the act of drawing liquid into the mouth. And British writers use draft for (1) a written plan or preliminary sketch, (2) an order for a bank to pay money, (3) conscription into the military, and (4) the act of selecting someone for a role.

American and Canadian publications use draft for all these purposes. Draught occasionally appears in reference to beer, but mainly in product marketing. Non-British varieties of English from outside North America tend to use the British spellings.


Suddenly I felt a draught, and heard the clunk of the gun thudding against a soldier’s side. [Scotsman]

This latest draft of the rules retains a requirement that all mortgage borrowers must prove their income. [Financial Times]

Go to the football and treat yourself to a draught of invigorating winter escapism. [Guardian]

The son of a shoemaker, Hawelka opened the coffee house in 1938, only to close it a year later when he was drafted into Hitler’s army. [Irish Times]

I can remember Dad and Grandpa hitching up the two semi-draught horses we had. [Waikato Times]

The AFL’s No 1 draft pick Jonathon Patton will be sent to Sweden for treatment after experiencing problems with “jumper’s knee”. [The Australian]

See also

Plough vs. plow