Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Center and Centre

english_bookCenter vs Centre

An old joke speaks of an American couple who decides to take a trip to England. When they get back they tell their friends they had such a lovely time. The castles, the food, and the countryside were all great. The only thing that would make it better is if the natives could speak English!

Of course, both Americans and British speak English, just with local variations. These variations are in both spoken and written English. Someone from northern Scotland and someone from southern Mississippi would have a hard time understanding each other. Written language is much easier to wade through, but there are certain spelling and vocabulary differences that can get you in trouble if you don’t know to look out for them. For instance, torch is a British flash, truck is an American lorry, and braces are orthodontic equipment in American and a device to keep your pants up in Britain. Center and centre can also cause a problem if you’re not careful.

The Definition of Centre and Center
Centre ‘“ is the British spelling of the word that refers to the middle of something, a meeting place, or certain sporting positions.
Center ‘“ is the American spelling of the word that refers to the middle of something, a meeting place, or certain sporting positions.

Usage of Centre and Center
Centre ‘“ is used in Britain and countries that have adopted the British system of spelling such as Canada and India. It is also used in America for certain place names or institutions such as Centre, Alabama, Centre College in Kentucky, and the Centre Region of Haiti.
Center ‘“ is used in America and in much popular media, regardless of whether or not the country uses British spelling otherwise. It is also used for place names with that specific spelling such as town names Center is places as diverse as Texas, Wisconsin, and Slovenia.

Other Notes on Centre and Center
Center ‘“ is used worldwide to describe sporting positions in traditionally American sports, such as American football and baseball. Even in Britain the quarterback will throw the ball to the center in football and the center fielder will catch the pop fly in baseball.
Centre ‘“ is used worldwide to describe sporting positions in traditionally British sports such as the centre and centre forward in rugby. Sometimes American businesses will adopt the British spelling to give their establishment a little more class. There are many ‘theatre centres’ in small town America.

1.British and American English differ in vocabulary, pronunciation, and spelling on a great number of words.
2.Centre is the British spelling of the word that is spelled center in America.
3.Both centre and center refer to the middle of objects, meeting places, and certain sporting positions.
4.Sometimes, depending on the context, you will see centre being used in America and center being used in Britain, but these usages are rare and often considered affected by their fellow countrymen.

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  1. Thank you for a very clear article that helped clear out my misunderstanding of the difference between the words. (I had built a mental picture based on concrete or abstract thinking, but this article put me right.)

  2. Actually braces are also orthodontic equipment here in the UK and using braces to hold up our pants (which we call trousers) is pretty well unheard of.

  3. “braces are orthodontic equipment in American and a device to keep your pants up in Britain.”

    They’re orthodontic in Britain as well. Also, in Britain, you wouldn’t use braces to keep your pants up anyway, since they normally stay up by themselves and it would probably give you a bad wedgie if you attached braces to your underwear.

    You might use braces to hold up Trousers, however.

  4. I was taught that “center” is literal, as in the center of a circle or table. And, “centre” is abstract, as in health centre or centre for humanist action.

  5. Hmm, this clarifies how I should advertise my cosmetic surgery center (centre) 🙂

  6. Good post thank for providing useful information.

  7. Yeah in UK english the word “Ass” means an animal, where in American ‘ingleesh’ Ass means ‘Butt'(Buttocks).

    LMFAO! 😉

  8. And don’t lets get started on the “fanny”!

    A couple of things I noticed – wouldn’t the “center” normally snap the ball for the quarterback?
    And the centre forward is actually a position in soccer (which is more widely known as football – apart from in the US and to devotees of other sports such as rugby or Aussie rules).

  9. This is a brilliant. Good and logical simple layout, easily understood construct, excellent content. Very well done. 🙂

  10. @Wm. Perry – I fail to see how a health centre is abstract. Is it not a concrete place one would visit for health issues?

    • A health center is not the literal mid-point of anything, like the center of a circle. We only call it “center” because it is an important place, a metaphorical focal point of the industry, which has no physical center. I was never taught this rule but it is how the word is commonly used in the midwest. I assume we do this because we only see British spelling in proper names, and therefore learned to associate it with a different sense of the word.

  11. Thank for explaining in such a brief way well you clear my doubt thank one’s gain for the information

  12. “British sports such as the centre and centre forward in rugby”…..

    There is no centre forward in rugby ! I think you mean:
    British sports such as the centre (rugby) and centre forward (football)

  13. I will guarantee that had I spelled center, centre when I was learning “English”, in the 50’s & 60′ it would sure ass hell been wrong. And OBTW the automatic spellcheck red lined it and the answer was, you guessed it “center or Centre (no red lie) or canter ??? and you know the rest!

  14. “. . . countries that have adopted the British system of spelling such as Canada and India.”

    You mean countries that have continued to use English as it was introduced and as it should be used. People may “adopt” the American form of English; however, those using correct English are not adopting the British system . . . the British system is correct English that has not been simplified and dumbed down.

    Although often said as a joke when people play with their iPhones and have to select American or British English, there is more than an element of truth in the line: American English? There is no such thing. There is English, and there are mistakes.

    • This is somewhat untrue. One must understand the history of English in order to comment on its modern state. In Middle-English, spelling was often varied and a ‘correct’ system did not exist. In some instances, many of the same words could have entirely different spellings depending on the dialect that a document was written in and the scribe (or monk) who wrote it. For example, words such as knight or life varied in spelling; furthermore, ℎ was often spelt as ȝ (or ℎ/ℎ, note that is wasn’t pronounced the same way either), and life had manifold spellings (, , , and many others). That is to say, these two instances are not the only occurrence of English spelling varying in nature. If was only after the Printing Press was invented that spelling started to shift into a more unified form, and even into the Enlightenment Era, spelling sometimes varied in nature. I’ve seen a few instances of books from the 18th-Century spell words in ways that we would consider to be complete errors today; here are a few examples of this that I can give: publick being spelt as ‘publick’, phenomena as ‘phænomena’, connection being spelt as ‘connexion’, and forty being spelt as ‘fourty’. In reality, neither system can be considered correct or incorrect since English spelling has always varied.

      • There were some source errors in my comment, as some words did not appear as intended (I attempted to Italicise some words, but they vanished when I posted the comment; therefore, I sadly won’t be able to do so). I was trying to say that the word knight was often spelt as knyȝt, knicht, knyht, cnyht, chiht, kniht, and many others. I was also trying to say that that the word life could also be spelt as lyf, lif, or lijf (or any other scribal or dialectal preference).

  15. Now here is a conundrum! Despatches of the East India Company, and also by General Sir Arthur Wellesley from India spell the word CENTER! These can be seen at the British Library in London.

    So sometime after that time the British and most of Europe adopted the CENTRE spelling whereas the more phonetic spelling was adopted by the residents of the USA.

    Incidentally the spelling of Color – USA English comes from the Slavonic nations and is common in Germany.

    USA English is often a phonetic spelling, and to state that the UK English is the correct spelling of a word is no more correct than to claim that the US spelling is. Both are correct for the simple reason that that is the common usage in the country concerned.

  16. Everytime I saw the word centre here in the U.S I would pronounce it Sen-trey. I always thought it was a fancy way of saying center or naming your business with that spelling. Liter = Litre, Meter = Metre. Born and raised here in America and been indoctrinated and ethnocentric simultaneously I would always say why are things spelled different and why do Brits have an accent, at the time not knowing that Americans are the ones with the accent.

  17. yes I read this paragraph fully about the resemblance of most up-to-date and earlier technologies, it’s amazing article.

  18. thanks for sharing

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