British vs American English

Last revised by Yaïr Glick on 30 Sep 2022

There are numerous spelling differences between British English (as spoken and written in the United Kingdom and most of 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 auto-translated because of the SI unit of radiation the gray (see: grey vs gray)

Some words cannot be changed because they have variant spellings that are not clearly American or British or there is overlap in usage in one country. Examples include

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'
    • this also applies to all derived forms, e.g. artifactual
  • fetus/fetal is always spelled this way, never foetus/foetal
    • this also applies to all derived forms, e.g. feticide
    • also fetor oris, not foetor oris

If there is a word that has been missed please email: [email protected] and consideration will be given.

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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