Here we go again! Another classic case of regional spelling preferences. Let’s take a look at the word “savior.” Is it savior or savior? Does it make a difference? Of course, it does. And I’ll explain how to spell it and when to use it right here.
Savior vs. Saviour: What’s the Difference?
The main difference you need to consider between “savior” and “saviour” is solely in their spelling, which is determined by regional dialects. In a function aspect, the two spellings have the same meaning, so there’s no concern there. And their spellings don’t make a difference in how you pronounce them, either.
Truly, the only difference between these two words is their spelling. America is the odd duck out, using the shorter “savior” as their preferred spelling. Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand all use the -our at the end—”saviour.”
How Do You Spell Savior?
The correct spelling of the noun “savior” isn’t just one simple answer. Like a lot of words in the English language, it actually varies depending on whether you’re writing for American or Canadian, or UK English.
In American English, the word should be spelled as “savior” if you want to abide by the preferences of that country.
But in Canadian or British English, it should be spelled as “saviour” with a U added in. Both spellings are technically correct but are more common in their associated regions.
As a Canadian writer always writing for an American audience, I sometimes get called out by readers for “typos” in my books. I have to politely explain that because I’m Canadian and write mostly in Canadian settings, I used the spelling preferences for my country. But I could use either one of the variations and still be correct.
Funnily enough, between savior and saviour, “saviour” was once the more popular of the two, with “savior” only surpassing it in recent years.
Saviour or Savior Meaning Explained
The word “savior” or “saviour” refers to someone who rescues or saves others from danger or difficulty. This can be applied in many contexts, like a religious savior or something more physical, like a firefighter pulling someone from a burning house.
If using it to refer to God or Jesus, most Christians prefer to capitalize it, making it a proper noun.
Origin of the Word Savior
The noun “savior” (or “saviour” if you prefer) came about in the 1300s and derived from the Latin word “salvator,” which loosely translates to “one who saves or delivers.” It always had some kind of religious tie to Jesus Christ.
It was later adapted into the Old French language as “sauveour” or “salveor.” Over the years, the common noun evolved into its current and more familiar form, with both “savior” and “saviour” sticking in place as acceptable spellings.
Synonyms for Savior
Savior Examples in a Sentence
Here are a few sentences showing both the American and British spellings.
- After rescuing our drowning child at the beach, we hailed the lifeguard as a savior. (American spelling)
- In that movie we just watched, the protagonist becomes the saviour of the city by stopping the villain’s evil plan. It’s so predictable.
- A lot of Christians believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior and Redeemer. (American spelling)
- The firefighter became a local saviour when he saved several people from a burning building.
- During the 9-11 crisis in New York, thousands of volunteers were seen as saviors who provided unexpected help and medical assistance. (American spelling)
Which Spelling Will You Use?
On paper, it matters which regional spelling you choose, especially in a formal context. So, just always keep in mind that American spelling often favors the shorter version of words. Check out our other grammar guides on regional spelling to see for yourself!