As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through (, and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting:

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

Why American -- I'm British

Could someone explain why, despite first ensuring use of the non-American dictionary, and in the knowledge my entire computer system and programmes are all configured to use Queen's English, do results for words searched appear with the American spelling in prime position and a bracketed (British use) alternative in second ???
After all, this is meant to be the ENGLISH - OXFORD dictionary.


  • Ian, the term 'Queens English' has no place in any serious discussion of dictionary construction. Nor does the term 'English' refer exclusively to British English.

    I'd be interested to see which words appear with US spelling prioritised. I do know that Oxford University Press sometimes agrees with US spelling conventions over those of other UK publishers — most notably in the generality of -ize spellings.

  • Hi @IanGreen
    Oxford Dictionaries are not only about British English, both the OED and the English Dictionary bring both uses and, where possible, uses from other English-speaking countries as well.
    But it's always clearly indicated to avoid confusion.
    Just complementing @DavidCrosbie comment above :)

  • Hello @IanGreen . When you see a British spelling in brackets (for example, '(British randomise)' in 'randomize') it means that this is a British variant spelling, not that the word is spelled 'randomize' in America and only as 'randomise' in the UK. Your question might not have been specific to the '-ze' ending, but there is more information about this here, if it is useful to you: (in short, where we show the '-ze' ending, it is for etymological reasons).

    It may sound obvious, but if you only wish to see non-US spellings, it is worth checking that when you enter a word in the search bar, you have selected 'dictionary' and not 'dictionary (US)' from the drop down menu, too.

Sign In or Register to comment.