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date: 18 November 2017

British/American spelling differences

Source:
The New Oxford Dictionary for Scientific Writers and Editors

Appendix 10 British/American spelling differences

British spelling

American spelling

Examples of British/American spellings

Comments

-ae-

-e-

aestivate/estivate

aetiology/etiology

anaesthetic/anesthetic

haemoglobin/hemoglobin

leukaemia/leukemia

Beware aero- words, which are the same in UK and US spellings, e.g. aerofoil, anaerobic

-oe-

-e-

oestrogen/estrogen

oesophagus/esophagus

oedema/edema

diarrhoea/diarrhea

dyspnoea/dyspnea

manoeuvre/maneuver

-re

-er

centre/center

fibre/fiber

litre/liter

metre/meter

titre/titer

-our

-or

behaviour/behavior

colour/color

humour/humor

tumour/tumor

Note that ‘tumor’ is becoming the standard international spelling in gene and protein names (e.g. tumor necrosis factor)

-logue

-log

analogue/analog

catalogue/catalog

dialogue/dialog

homologue/homolog

Note that -logue forms are sometimes used in US texts

-lyse

-lyze

analyse/analyze

catalyse/catalyze

hydrolyse/hydrolyze

haemolyse/hemolyze

Applies only for verbs derived from ‘lysis’

-ical

-ic

anatomical/anatomic

biological/biologic

morphological/morphologic

serological/serologic

Note that -ical forms are often used in US texts

-ence

-ense

defence/defense

offence/offense

licence (n.)/license

pretence/pretense

-l

-ll

fulfil/fulfill

enrol/enroll

distil/distill

instalment/installment

But beware, e.g., install/install, compel/compel, which are spelled the same in British and American English

-lled, -lling, -eller

-led, -ling, -eler

labelled/labeled

labelling/labeling

modelled/modeled

modelling/modeling

modeller/modeler

travelled/traveled

travelling/traveling

traveller/traveler

-trophic, -trophin

-tropic, -tropin

adrenocorticotrophic/adrenocorticotropic

gonadotrophin/gonadotropin

thyrotrophin/thyrotropin

Words suffixed by ‘-trophic’ meaning nourishment (e.g. heterotrophic) are spelled the same in British and American English, as are words suffixed by ‘-tropic’ meaning directional growth (e.g. geotropic)

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