Nugget of Knowledge: Gray or Grey and other confusing words


Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – Is it “gray,” or is it “grey”?

“Gray” and “grey” are two different ways of spelling the same word; neither is technically right or wrong.

We’ve been spelling it both ways since the 14th century. Back then it was “graye” and “greye.”

The difference between “grey” and “gray” is that “gray” is the widely accepted version in American English, and “grey” is widely accepted in British English.

It’s easy to remember this way: “A” is for America and “E” is for England. We and our English cousins often spell the same word differently: “organise” vs. “organize,” “catalogue” vs. “catalog” or “color” vs. colour.”

There are some terms or names that have the word “gray” or “grey” in them, where there’s only one correct spelling.

For example, the dog breed, greyhound, is always spelled with an E, never with an A.
Earl Grey, as in the tea, always has an E as well.

Or these “greys”…Grey Poupon mustard, Grey Goose vodka, Grey’s Anatomy on TV, the novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

There’s also a type of fish called the grayling, with an A.

But when it’s a more general adjective, like “gray wolf” or “gray matter,” either spelling goes.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on