British vs American English

Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Tim Luijkx et al.

There are numerous spelling differences between British English (as spoken and written in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth) and American English (as spoken and written in the United States and Canada). Although Radiopaedia initially favored UK spelling (on account of having been started in Australia) we now accept having a mix of British (UK) and American (US) spelling on the site.

The site now automatically attempts to show users the correct spelling. This is based on your browser language setting. Additionally, your user profile settings include a language preference which overrides the browser language setting. 

Only a defined set of words will be translated. 

Because we replace spelling on a word-for-word basis, some context-specific words cannot be changed:

  • the color gray (US) vs grey (UK) cannot be autotranslated because of the SI unit of radiation the gray

Some words cannot be changed because they have variant spellings that are not clearly American or British:

  • the word disc/disk are both used in British English, whilst Americans have a preference for disk, but this is by no means clear-cut
    • this also applies to some of their derivatives, e.g. discogenic
  • malakoplakia is more often found in the US, whilst malacoplakia is more often used in the UK, but there is some overlap in usage

In addition there are some words/suffixes we never use and therefore will not be translated:

  • sulfur is the preferred official spelling in science and we never use 'sulphur'
    • this also applies to all derived forms, e.g. disulfite
  • the suffix '-cele' is always spelled this way, never '-coele', e.g. hydrocele
  • artifact is always spelled this way, never 'artefact'
  • fetus/fetal is always spelled this way, never foetus/foetal
    • this also applies to all derived forms, e.g. feticide

If you see a word that we have missed please email us: [email protected] and we will consider adding it.

Note: when new words are added to our translate list, search results will not reflect the change until 3 am the following morning (Australian Eastern Daylight Time: UTC+11). 

Not all parts of the site will be affected. For example, references, usernames and biographies are specifically excluded. Some other parts of the site may be added in the future.

The internet is a big place. If you follow a link shared with you that has a specific language appended to the end of the URL, e.g. ?lang=gb, you may be shown that spelling and not the one favored by your browser/user profile. 

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Article information

rID: 31036
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • UK or US English
  • US or UK English
  • American or British English
  • British or American English
  • US versus UK English
  • UK versus US English
  • British versus American English
  • American versus British English
  • American vs British English
  • US vs UK English
  • UK vs US English

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