British English may have come first, but around the world, the American way of spelling is now far more popular.
A recent examination of these two variants of the English language show that publications now largely use the American version, swapping words like ‘centre’ for ‘center’ after the 1880s.
According to the data, this shift was further strengthened around the time of World War I – and as the language evolved, even the British have ditched the spelling of some words for their trans-Atlantic counterparts.
Among many words, including ‘grey’ and ‘flavour,’ British English can be seen dwindling around 1880, when American English began to cross into wider use.
Since then, English-language publications have preferred ‘gray’ and ‘flavor,’ and despite fluctuations in use over the years, they’ve remained more popular than the preceding versions since overtaking them.
During World War I, the world also began to favor ‘defense’ over the British English version, ‘defence.’
For many years, British English maintained its hold on ‘honour,’ grappling with the American version for years as the two flip-flopped in popularity around the world. In the 1970s, however, American English gained a clear lead as ‘honor’ increasingly became the more spelling of choice.