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British Spellings Quiz

Based on the American spelling, guess the British spellings of these words.
Some of these are pronounced differently
Read me => Sometimes these words can be spelled the same in Britain. Guess the DIFFERENT spelling which is not used in the U.S.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: January 28, 2022
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First submittedApril 10, 2012
Times taken91,793
Average score70.0%
Rating3.96
4:00
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US Spelling
British Spelling
Analyze
Analyse
Airplane
Aeroplane
Aluminum
Aluminium
Mustache
Moustache
Tidbit
Titbit
Traveler
Traveller
Aging
Ageing
Likable
Likeable
Defense
Defence
Check
Cheque
US Spelling
British Spelling
Chili
Chilli
Gray
Grey
Mold
Mould
Plow
Plough
Story
Storey
Tire
Tyre
Curb
Kerb
Color
Colour
Racket
Racquet
Estrogen
Oestrogen
US Spelling
British Spelling
Eon
Aeon
Pediatric
Paediatric
Pajamas
Pyjamas
Realize
Realise
Maneuver
Manoeuvre
Center
Centre
Meter
Metre
Program
Programme
Catalog
Catalogue
Behoove
Behove
101 Recent Comments
+5
Level 58
Mar 30, 2017
My god, it's amazing how a fun quiz can attract so much rhetoric and at times anger. We are all different, the world would be boring if we were all similar and, do you know what, I guessed that 'tire' was used to be the vehicular definition and not an example of lethargy.

The sad fact here in Britain is that a huge number of the younger population (and an increasing number of older indigenes) can't spell, use grammar (especially apostrophes) or even communicate properly.

Americans and Brits use different spellings and sometimes even different words. That's life! No-one is right or wrong (except maybe where jam/jelly is concerned!)

+1
Level 47
Feb 21, 2018
Jam has chunks of the fruit in it and Jelly doesn't. ( I'm American btw)
+2
Level 69
Mar 30, 2017
I am English. I agree American spellings are often better, but was brought up to use the English spellings. The strange spellings depend on the origin of the word, whether Latin, Greek, French or whatever. I however use "chile" and have no idea what Behoove means.
+2
Level 60
Mar 30, 2017
Change quiz name to "Correct Spellings Quiz" tia
+2
Level 66
Mar 31, 2017
It was at this moment that sulfuratus >realised< he had been using a mix of AE and BE all the time.
+2
Level 55
Mar 31, 2017
OMG!! I live in Ireland so some are the same and some aren't and I was so confused!
+4
Level 54
Apr 12, 2017
This is way Australia's vocab is messed up. A mixture of American and English...
+1
Level 70
Mar 19, 2024
Ah so maybe it is australian that I have always been typing! Well apart from the abbreviations for a lot of things. And a few unique inventions
+3
Level 33
Jun 9, 2017
I'm an aussie right, and I just remembered my favourite american mix up moment. I was a hotel room looking around the room (with my computer open), and my american colleague walks in saying "what's up?"

I respond with "Can't find a powerpoint"

He walks out and returns with powerpoint open with on his computer

+1
Level 25
Jul 29, 2017
full marks blud
+1
Level 62
Sep 25, 2017
Though my family lineage is largely English, I must make the point that many of the American spellings are simpler, and thus facilitate communication more easily. Also, since Americans now far out-number Brits, the new-world spellings would be preferred in a purely democratic sense.
+3
Level 51
Oct 20, 2017
You may be forgetting that, were just half of Commonwealth members able to speak English (and preferential to British English) they would still outnumber Americans by about 350%.
+2
Level 33
Aug 9, 2022
Does America also outnumber India and Nigeria
+3
Level 51
Oct 20, 2017
'A lexicographer's business is solely to collect, arrange, and define the words that usage presents to his hands. He has no right to proscribe words; he is to present them as they are.' -Noah Webster, who went on to prescribe a whole ton of alternate spellings in his dictionary.
+1
Level 35
Dec 15, 2017
Missed a few, helps if you know how to spell the words in the first place lol
+1
Level 16
Jan 14, 2018
3:14 to spare GG
+2
Level 47
Feb 21, 2018
Can we have a version of this quiz the other way around? British words you have to guess the American spelling of?
+1
Level 49
Apr 22, 2018
Behove? Aeon? Never used those words so no idea what they mean or shows to spell them. Otherwise, all correct
+1
Level 64
Apr 23, 2018
Several of these words have gone out of fashion even for the British (and by extension, us Aussies). The British/Australian spell checkers now are constantly telling me that spelling travelled or traveller is wrong, as is the case for many words that used to be spelled with a double 'L.'
+2
Level 70
Feb 28, 2019
Then they are probably not British/Australian spellcheckers!
+1
Level 66
Mar 5, 2024
Traveler is actually the correct spelling, per the Oxford Guide to English Usage (I think). If the stress in the word is on the last syllable, the consonant is doubled, otherwise a single consonant is right: TRAvel>TRAveling; MARket> MARketing; upSET>upSETTING; propEL>propELLING. So it's not really an American v British thing.

That said, language is constantly deVELoping (not deveLOPPING) and my version of the Oxford guide is from 1983. Oh, and of course there are exceptions.

+1
Level 37
Oct 11, 2018
English is my second language, taught to me by Europeans; perhaps that's why I find the English spelling of words easier (except for "kerb", which I've never heard of until now).
+1
Level 70
Oct 30, 2018
British spelling is very pleasing--except for where they replace a "z" with "s" or have "re" instead of "er".
+1
Level 46
Nov 19, 2018
So that was just french spelling most of the time eheh
+1
Level 68
Jan 9, 2019
In New Zealand British spelling is used for lots of words, and US spelling has also influenced NZ spelling. I mention this because although NZ English has more in common with British English than US, I feel I am removed enough from Britain to accept that plenty of US spellings are far more logical than the British equivalent. For example, dropping u's makes life easier, after all, we aren't French. Also, removing silent vowels makes great sense.
+3
Level 32
Jan 9, 2019
british spelling =correct spelling
+2
Level 28
Feb 8, 2019
Exactly. One of the worst examples is how they spell tap.
+1
Level 70
Jan 9, 2019
pretty easy, only racquet (was close) storey ( i guess not the tale but a storey building) and traveller, got the best of me. Never heard of behoove (sounds like someone trying to say behave haha, maybe an allo allo character). Aeon and kerb took a second look. This is gonna screw me up though haha, I think I allready used words of both "langauage/dialect" but I think now it will be even more mixed...
+1
Level 89
Jan 9, 2019
Ever since the United States kicked out England with the help of the French it's perplexing how much they've changed their spelling to be more French. Why did the U.S. retain the correct spelling? Imagine if England got conquered by King Louis in the American Revolution, they'd all be speaking French. Oh wait, apparently they are.
+2
Level 57
Jan 9, 2019
Us Canadians use basically all the british spellings.
+1
Level 87
Jan 29, 2022
As I mentioned earlier, Canadians don't "analyse" things.
+2
Level 62
Mar 23, 2019
Why would you change aluminium to aluminum when every other element pretty much ends in -ium? Seems a bit odd, and confusing. Like you don’t call it cadmum titanum or sodum, so why should aluminium be different?
+2
Level 80
May 9, 2019
I find the US insistence on changing the name of the element consistent with their insistence on using feet, gallons and pounds for units of measurement. They seem to enjoy being different, even if the rest of the world just thinks they're wrong for doing so.
+3
Level 80
Jan 30, 2022
Sir Humphry Davy made a bit of a mess of naming this new element, at first spelling it alumium then changing it to aluminum, and finally settling on aluminium. There are other elements such as lanthanum, tantalum that would match aluminum, just as there are many others such as sodium, lithium, etc. that match aluminium.
+1
Level 82
Mar 30, 2019
First try. 100%. Being french helps a bit :)
+1
Level 25
Jul 22, 2019
Some of these are wrong, I bet this quiz was made by an American person.
+6
Level ∞
Jul 22, 2019
I bet this comment was made by a Belgian!
+1
Level 34
Oct 22, 2019
I am English. A lot of those are wrong and out of context. Metre is a unit of measurement. Meter is a device for measuring electricity use for example. We also use check and cheque, totally different things.
+1
Level ∞
Oct 22, 2019
You should be able to infer the context, that we are looking for the British spelling that is different than the American one.
+1
Level 64
Jan 29, 2022
Agree completely. When we get tired in Scotland, we don't tyre. We don't kerb our instincts, just away tae oor beds when we're knackered
+3
Level 35
Aug 9, 2020
British spellings look more sophisticated and mature for some reason. Hmm
+3
Level 54
Oct 26, 2020
Because it retains the French influence, since Britain got itself conquered by France and ruled by French monarchs for centuries. American English is taking it back to the Anglo-Saxon roots. ;)
+1
Level 89
Aug 24, 2023
So you think American English separated from Anglo-Saxon before 1066 do you? And by the way, England was conquered by Normans - not the French
+1
Level 38
Dec 8, 2020
Words like story/storey aren't so much different spellings, depends on how it's being used. We still use story if it's a book, but storey if it's a floor on a building
+1
Level 26
Jan 14, 2021
Racquet and Manoeuvre is difficult to remember as a non-native English speaker. :( ugh...

I hope I will learn to spell those words in the future.

+1
Level 67
Jan 20, 2021
100%, but that last one was tough. I started with the letters that made sense to me: "beh", then started experimenting.
+1
Level 81
Mar 10, 2021
Aeon is the standard spelling in British English, because the British still use the original digraph 'ash' in words like ægis, æon, archæology and leukæmia. The same applies to the oe spelling in œstrogen and Oedipus, where the ligature is used to represent the Greek diphthong 'οι'. The French still use it too. In French, œ is called 'e dans l'o', which means e in the o (a French joke to aid memory used in school, sounding like (des) œufs dans l'eau, meaning 'eggs in water'). Americans have simply cut this out as it is not required for clear comprehension. Europeans, being a bit snobbish about anything classical or highbrow, have generally kept the spelling but dropped the ligature. Extremely highbrow and pretentious Grammar and Classics professors still retain the digraph.

In any case, they are not insurmountable differences, and I for one have never struggled to understand an American using different spellings and vernacular. That said, I am interested in phonetics and linguistics...

+1
Level 81
Mar 10, 2021
...and I listen to the lectures of, and read the works of, more progressive (and American) professors of linguistics such as John McWhorter, as well as learning the history of (especially) English. I even understood Bill S Preston Esquire, when he declared on the San Dimas High School stage that he had a "mild Edipal Complex". I would say Oedipus Complex (pron. 'eedipus').

As stated above, all languages are dynamic and vowels shift, and the sound of consonants also change. The letters we have are not varied enough to represent subtle differences. The differences in US and UK orthography come down to exactly what point in the history of English we first (respectively) decided to fix them in stone. Plus, of course, spelling reform. If you think that words should be pronounced as they are spelled, you are not right. The word comes first and the orthography necessarily comes later, and the system is often found lacking and is quickly superannuated, because language usage CHANGES constantly

+1
Level 81
Mar 10, 2021
In any case, speakers of both British English and American English have their preferences and their 'bêtes noires', and neither is right, just like neither is wrong. They are simply different, and as we say here in the UK, "vive la différence". :D
+4
Level 67
Jul 27, 2021
Only got manoeuvre from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
+1
Level 68
Aug 22, 2021
I suppose I spell chilli the British way then
+1
Level 28
Aug 28, 2021
29/30

Didn't know what aeon was so I didn't know how we spell it 🤷

+3
Level 61
Nov 30, 2021
Being British and 'of a certain age', I found this easy enough. But Brits of a younger generation would struggle, as so many US spellings seem to be used here now. I blame Facebook! lol

PS why don't you guys just spell it aloominum and have done with it haha

+2
Level 78
Jan 28, 2022
Being a Canadian who happens to read BBC, this quiz was mostly very easy. Then I spent 2 full minutes trying every possible way to phonetically spell curb. I eventually tried the silliest way possible to spell it and bingo. I gotta say, kerb looks like those silly spellings that Webster suggested, like masheen.
+5
Level 81
Jan 28, 2022
This quiz has been updated, but still could really use either some glosses or a caveat that some of of these words are spelled the "British" way only for one particular meaning: on this side of the pond they're homonyms rather than the same word. By my count it's six. You can check the figures on your bank cheque, tell a story set on the fourteenth storey of a building, get tired of changing your car tyre, curb your language after falling off the kerb, make a racket with your tennis racquet, and find the parking meter twenty metres away.
+3
Level 80
Jan 28, 2022
The British spelling was the original
+1
Level 89
Jan 28, 2022
Actually, many of these are Latin or ancient German forms, which were originally used in England. Spelling was not standardized in either country until decades after U.S. independence. It was a generation or so after Napoleon's defeat and after his death with the retroactive romanticization of France when French endings like -our and -re were locked in. Despite the Viking Norman conquerors' use of courtly French, the original Latin (and hence English) forms were commonly used by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, etc. Before standardization you'll find francophone spelling used interchangeably with the original German and Latin spelling conventions in England and even early documents of the independent U.S.

Sorry, but many American root forms are, more often than not, pedigreed back a millenium and a half before the traditional French versions, which later came in full vogue in 1800s England.

+1
Level 89
Jan 28, 2022
"Do thou meet me presently at the harbor.—Come hither. If thou be’st valiant, as they say base men being in love have then a nobility in their natures more than is native to them, list me. The lieutenant tonight watches on the court of guard.

- William Shakespeare

Notably, here we see a different situation with the newer French spelling of lieutenant. Old French was leuftenant, which holds over in the current British pronunciation versus American.

Many modern editions of older English texts "correct" to modern British spellings, but writers including Shakespeare used older spelling forms as well as francophone versions.

+1
Level 89
Jan 28, 2022
"Not equal, as thir sex not equal seem’d;

For contemplation hee and valor form’d,

For softness shee and sweet attractive Grace,

Hee for God only, shee for God in him:

His fair large Front and Eye sublime declar’d

Absolute rule; and Hyacinthine Locks

Round from his parted forelock manly hung

Clust’ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:

Shee as a veil down to the slender waist

Her unadorned golden tresses wore

Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets wav’d

As the Vine curls her tendrils, which impli’d

Subjection, but requir’d with gentle sway,

And by her yielded, by him best receiv’d,

Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,

And sweet reluctant amorous delay."

- John Milton, Paradise Lost

Here, we see one of the most cherished of all Englishman writers holding onto older English spellings in the mid-1600s. Among them, "valor", completely U-less.

+1
Level 71
Mar 29, 2022
I believe you will find that In the UK both pronunciations of lieutenant are used, one for the army officer and one for the navy.
+2
Level 70
Jan 28, 2022
One has only to travel in the UK for a while and talk to the people in different regions to realise that there is nothing unusual about differing pronunciation and spelling of the English language. Spend a week in Liverpool, then a week in Newcastle, after that a week in Glasgow followed by a week in Birmingham and another week in London. If that doesn't prove me correct then head for the West country, Somerset or likewise and then over to Lincolnshire. If by now you think that all British people speak the same ........... your potty.
+2
Level 71
Mar 27, 2022
that would be "you're potty"
+1
Level 81
Aug 17, 2022
Unless we're talking about toddlers
+1
Level 79
Jan 29, 2022
I admire kalbahamut's attempts to simplify the English language. I believe Orwell's Ministry of Truth adopted a similar approach
+1
Level 87
Jan 29, 2022
Why was this quiz reset? What changed? With all the criticism of the various spellings above, I am loath to add my weight to it all (that's "loth" for you Brits, although why I'm not sure, since the verb form in both places is "loathe").
+2
Level 82
Jan 29, 2022
Apparently I spell a lot of things the British way despite being American (although I did know about "grey." Believe it or not I have had actual arguments with people who are upset I use grey instead of gray) but I have to say, kerb looks absolutely ridiculous spelled that way
+2
Level 68
Mar 28, 2022
But if you're British it doesn't look at all ridiculous.
+2
Level 76
Jan 30, 2022
Who is the person in the picture?
+2
Level ∞
Jan 30, 2022
A British comedian named Michael Attree. You can usually find more info about a picture on JetPunk by clicking it.
+1
Level 69
Jan 30, 2022
I honestly think that some of these have different meanings for different spellings. Mold and mould are not the same thing where I am from.
+2
Level 87
Feb 3, 2022
So would you want to have moulding along your bedroom wall, or have molding along your bedroom wall?
+1
Level 67
Feb 5, 2022
Easy quiz if you're Canadian as we use many- but not all- of these spellings as well.
+1
Level 75
Feb 10, 2022
For Australians too.
+2
Level 82
Feb 11, 2022
Several of these are only spelt differently in the UK for specific meanings of the word (cheque, storey, tyre, kerb, racquet, metre). It would probably be a good idea to either remove these or to specify the meaning you're referring to.

Otherwise we're going to have a lot of Americans thinking that in the UK one might cheque the parking metre while making a racquet telling a storey, until your friends tyre of you and you kerb your behaviour.

+1
Level 78
Mar 22, 2022
I took 8 years of French, and even though i haven't used it since high school, i still find myself using spellings like moustache and catalogue.
+1
Level 60
Mar 27, 2022
In fact, many of these pairs are frankly DIFFERENT WORDS. 'Aeroplane' is a DIFFERENT WORD' from Airplane, not a different pronunciation of the same word. 'Storey' and 'Story' are DIFFERENT WORDS and DIFFERENT THINGS that happen to be homonyms.
+3
Level 82
Mar 27, 2022
No? yes, for the Brits the words "story" and "storey" mean different things, but in the US "story" is used for both. And I looked up the difference between "aeroplane" and "airplane" and they are just the British and American spelling, not a different word. Unless there's another meaning the dictionaries don't know about?
+1
Level 41
Mar 27, 2022
Me who's British
+3
Level 68
Mar 27, 2022
Ahh, I knew they had an o in maneuver and that it ended in an re, but I couldn’t quite get the combination right
+1
Level 41
Mar 27, 2022
You need to add definitions for these words, some words are not even common in the UK/USA so it gives advantages to other players. Adding definitions would be extremely beneficial and will make a fairer quiz overall.
+1
Level 65
Mar 27, 2022
The british version is often closer from the french/latin/greek origin of the word
+2
Level 59
Mar 28, 2022
The reverse of this quiz would be good. It could be called "How to misspell English words"
+1
Level 68
Mar 28, 2022
I'm a Brit who uses 'color'. Because System.Drawing.Color in C#
+1
Level 70
Mar 20, 2024
I am not a brit and not american, for me my spelling differs per word, but for some reason for color it is fifty fifty, depending or the day, or maybe influenced by where I am typing? (I think I might use colour in a more formal setting and color in a setting where it is more casual, or a place where people have no regard for spelling like where they type things like "how u b" and "u2".) I am nearly always aware when typing the word and feel like I might be "judged" if I use the "wrong" one.

For the most of the other words (in general, not this quiz specifically) I seem to have random preferences, though I am sure in many cases it stems from somewhere ( either some logic, or which I have encountered the most). Some just look odd to me.

Ow analyse and analyze is another one I think I mix, though seeing it written analyze looks weirder. I think lately I use analyse but might used to have used analyze more.. But now the more I look at it, analyze is starting to look less weird.

+3
Level 35
Mar 28, 2022
Crazy briish people
+1
Level 60
Mar 28, 2022
british people are silly goofy
+1
Level 52
Mar 29, 2022
British spellings just often being more complicated
+1
Level 59
Mar 30, 2022
Mate you took the words and changed them
+2
Level 71
Mar 29, 2022
Several of the spelling differences arise from whether or not original spelling of loanwords is used. This question arises in all languages that use the same alphabet. As a French speaker, when I use French words in discourse in English, I find it natural to retain their spelling. And as a Dutch speaker, well that language has a very systematic spelling, but almost everyone uses the "foreign" spelling of the extremely numerous loanwords.
+1
Level 48
Mar 31, 2022
A lot of these are incorrect.
+1
Level 48
Apr 3, 2022
Both realize and realise are acceptable British spellings: the former is using Oxford English (as used by the Oxford University Press).
+1
Level 28
Apr 18, 2022
Fascinating quiz! I'm British, and it took me ages to get "racquet" and "aeon" because I don't think I have seen either word spelt like that in anything published after the 1960's. I've also never heard the word "behove". Kept me on my toes!
+1
Level 61
Dec 31, 2022
I'm British, so its really just a selling quiz! Needed a couple of tries at aeon, though!
+1
Level 87
Mar 28, 2023
Fail ;)
+1
Level 70
Mar 20, 2024
I am fascinated by the lack of recognition of aeon. At first I thought it was just american speakers (and wondered why they haven't seen the word somewhere, just like I have as a non-english speaker (natively I mean). But apparently it is obscure for British people as well.

Well it still poses the same question, why do I find it a normal word and have seen the spelling quite a few times before. (Perhaps as much as eon, maybe even more, I think it might be more, or aeon just looks more pleasing to me, because looking at it atm, aeon looks better to me).

Maybe it is a matter of what you retain and I have a good memory for words (and like new and difficult ones, and etymology). Because when it comes to names I can read an article and forget names (especially famous people, sportspeople and politicians, I have no memory for those or the subjects in general). Of course names are words too, but then it is about what they refer to, and not if the word itself is interesting.

+2
Level 19
Feb 13, 2023
Maybe you could put the definition of the word next to it because on words like tire or cheque, it could have two spellings: tire and tyre and check and cheque
+1
Level 46
Feb 13, 2023
completely forgot how to spell manoeuvre from the beginning lmao
+1
Level 53
Apr 3, 2023
my god why is every british person in this comment section so offended. thats so americanophobic
+1
Level 89
Aug 24, 2023
I’m less offended by your wonky spelling than by your habit of deliberately mis-pronouncing words, in particular foreign names and places. No matter how hard it seems to pull off, no matter how straightforward the word, somehow you’ll manage to stress the wrong syllable, or put the accent in the wrong place and end up pronouncing it differently to everyone else in the whole world - it just feels perverse.

As Roxy7699 says, perhaps y’all declaring independence from England, over and over and over again?

+1
Level 70
Mar 19, 2024
Got all but racquet. tried tried a lot of things like raquet(te) but not c+q.

I got 25 without really having to stop and think, could continu(e) typing. (The ones that gave me a tiny bit of trouble and had to skip initially were traveler, silly could ve gotten that one earlier, my first guess was travler and then moved on. Pediatric, also silly, I got the other "ae" ones without pausing, hm forgot which other two I think defence, ow yea and chilli, (too many options with that one)

I am neither from the US or UK btw. That helps and hinders.

And we write manoeuvre the same way in my country, well those who know how to spell haha. Not surprised that one scored low, because it is not an easy one to spell. Nor about behoove, since a lot of people won't know that word, in either "language". But am surprised about aeon.

Sometimes I feel like americans don't have access to internet or something, surely they could come across the same words as I do??

+1
Level 57
Apr 26, 2024
Several of these words use both spellings in the US but change definitions depending on the spelling. For example a lot of Americans use the spelling "mould" specifically to mean a vessel to give shape to a fluid mixture and "mold" would refer to the organism. There's also other words where Americans just use the spellings interchangeably and don't have a preference/distinction between the two such as "defense" and "defence"