About The Joy of English

Grammar: jewellery or jewelry, jeweller or jeweler?

The standard spellings are jewellery in British English and jewelry in US English. The same difference applies to jeweller (UK) and jeweler (US). Jewelry is the older spelling and it may surprise people that the newer spelling, jewellery, only appeared in the 1900s. Fowler condemned this newer spelling as both 'commercial' and 'popular'.

Canadian spelling fluctuates between the two in equal measure and Australians use the 'British' spelling jewellery. Both Canadian and Australian English write jeweller. The word jewel comes from Old French joel, which derives from jeu (meaning 'game or play') and itself comes from Latin jocus ('jest').


About the author

Jesse Karjalainen is the author of The Joy of English: 100 conversations about the English Language, Cannibal – the language and history of the discovery of the New World, and Roanoke – the language and history of Early Colonial America.