Tire vs. tyre

Tire and tyre both mean a covering for a wheel, usually made of rubber. Tire is the preferred spelling in the U.S. and Canada. Tyre is preferred in most varieties of English outside North America. Of course, all English speakers use tire in the sense to grow weary.


Outside North America

Advanced systems to monitor fuel and tyre usage give the company a clear picture of how its fleet is performing. [Guardian]

Less than half a kilometre in, Keneally gets a flat tyre. [Sydney Morning Herald]

The machinery would enable the factory to produce the latest generation of car tyres, the company said. [BBC News]

North America

He said that he had just returned to Haiti from studying business in Canada, and that he was helping his father run a tire retread factory. [NY Times]

Andretti also worries about drivers who neglect the simple things, such as checking their tire pressures. [Globe and Mail]

As a verb

It took 20 minutes for the fish to tire and as it jumped under the glare of the moonlight, Mr Vallance realised it was a whopper. [Sydney Morning Herald]

A man can tire of the daily grind of barbarism. [Financial Times]

It means I’ve been out there long enough to tire her out which doesn’t happen easily. [Vancouver Sun]

23 thoughts on “Tire vs. tyre”

      • Oddly, this change was made by British English speakers, and was hotly criticized by academics the whole time the ‘tyre’ spelling was rising in usage. The ‘tire’ spelling predates ‘tyre’ by hundreds of years and was widely used in both England and the Americas, well into the 1900s. ‘Tyre’ is an example of British academics losing a battle against the uneducated.

        Though the thought that American English gets something right that British English gets wrong would give a lot of the English on the internet a stroke.

        • You are mistaken Josah. “Tyre” is the original spelling. It’s true of most spellings like that. I believe it’s a Latin word that the French brought into England when they took over it.

          from etymonline:
          late 15c., “iron plates forming a rim of a carriage wheel,” probably from tire “equipment, dress, covering” (c. 1300), a shortened form of attire (n.). The notion is of the tire as the dressing of the wheel. [b]The original spelling was tyre,[/b] which had shifted to tire in 17c.-18c., but since early 19c. tyre has been revived in Great Britain and become standard there.

          • That reference is off the mark with its second half. I’m also not very fond of sites that don’t source their information, so while Etymology Online is interesting, it’s not a guarantee of fact. All other language origins of the word ‘tire’, including French and Latin, don’t resemble the ‘tyre’ spelling. In fact, ‘tyre’ more appropriately resembles the spelling of the OTHER definition: to become fatigued, which was ‘tyren’ in Middle English.

            But for EO to make the claim that the spelling ‘tire’ for the casing on a wheel didn’t appear until the 17th century is provably false, and should actually be reported to the site’s maintainers to correct.

          • I’ll take EO’s definition. It’s preferable to have a single word (n)”tyre” than the (n) or (v) of “tire”

          • Then all you’re doing is picking a source because it agrees with the opinion you already had, and ruling out everything else. How would you ever learn anything if that’s your approach to knowledge?

  1. I’d never noticed this difference until today, having lived in Australia my entire life and read many texts and novels from overseas.

    Perhaps I’ve just overlooked the difference until today. I stopped short of correcting an American friend and then thought that perhaps I was spelling the word ‘tyre’ because of a brand corporate. Like when children spell the word ‘night’ as ‘nite’ or ‘quick’ as ‘quik’ because of large signs which they frequently see…

    • I wish there were more people like you. Open minded. Most people I know would instantly say whatever they feel like and back it up without looking it up. I was reading a translated manuscript and it spelled ‘tyre’ and I found it odd. I realized that it was translated by a random stranger and checked up if it was a word that is in english that’s not commonly used in the US

      • Tire is also the preferred spelling in the U.S and Canada for the rubber covering on a wheel, as the article states above.
        Did you read any of it?

        • Yeah. Read it. Just demonstrates how one country can be so insular and out of touch with the rest of the English speaking world.

          • It seems you only read it after it was pointed out that you were wrong. It isn’t just one country. Apparently you still failed to read it.

          • Brain: Ummm… America and Canada make up a reasonably good chunk of the english speaking world – both in terms of land mass and population. It isn’t just one country – It shows how insulated you are that you didn’t realize this. It also kinda gives away the fact you didn’t read the article haha

          • Just back from a month in the us. My third visit. People are friendly and helpful. But I need to add ignorant (of anything outside their world) to insular. Sorry if the truth hurts.

  2. Huh. Honestly, I had never heard of ‘tyre’ before, even though I live in the Netherlands, and all English being taught here is Britain English.

    • I’m sorry hugooo321 but I find so much English taught in Europe is American English almost consistently, Even the Accents used in speech are American. This is more prevalent now than it used to be though. The majority of under 30’s in Europe use American English despite thinking its British.


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