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.

Summary:
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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12 Comments

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

  9. @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.

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

  11. “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)

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