Defence vs Defense—Which Should I Use?

defence vs defense

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For writers and professionals alike, understanding the difference between words like defence vs defense can be a challenge. But with proper guidance on when each word should be used—not to mention why they exist in the first place!—you can make sure your writing is accurate and effective.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the differences between these two words so you can always know which one to use moving forward. Let’s get started!

Origin of Defence vs Defense

Both “defence” and “defense” are valid spellings of the same word, but they’re more commonly used in different parts of the English-speaking world. The spelling “defence” is more common in British English, while “defense” is preferred in American English. The difference in spelling can be traced back to the Latin word “defensa,” which means “to ward off” or “to protect.”

Over time, the word has undergone various changes as it was adopted into different languages. While the spelling may differ, the meaning and usage remain the same. So whether you’re defending your castle in England or your fort in America, the spelling may be different, but the purpose is the same – to protect and defend what’s important to you.

defence vs defense

When to Use Defence vs Defense

Are you about when to use “defence” or “defense”? You’re not alone. Although these two words look and sound similar, they have different meanings in British and American English.

   a. In British English 

When it comes to spelling the word for the protection from attack or harm in British English, there are two variants: defence and defense. While there’s no real difference in meaning between the two, the spelling with “c” is the dominant spelling in British English. In fact, “defense” with an “s” is considered an Americanism.

Thus, if you’re writing in British English, it’s always a good style guide or ask your editor which spelling to use.

   b. In American English 

When it comes to the correct spelling of defence versus defense in American English, it all depends on personal preference. Both words carry the same meaning and are used to describe the act of protecting oneself or others. However, defence is the spelling used in British English, while defense is the spelling used in American English.

If you’re audience will understand.

Examples of Defence vs Defense in Sentences 

Defence and defense are two spellings of the same word, and they are both correct. However, it’s important to note that they are used differently in British English and American English. In British English, “defence” is the preferred spelling, while in American English, “defense” is more commonly used.

  • For example, “The team’s defense was strong in the last game” is an American English sentence, while “The British army is responsible for the country’s defence” is more common in British English.
  • Another example is in the sport of soccer. In American English, it is called “soccer defense,” while in British English, it is “football defence.”

Knowing the difference between these two spellings is important, especially if you’re communicating with someone from a different country or using a formal document.

Tips for Remembering Which Word to Use

English is a complex language, and with so many words that sound alike, it’s easy to confuse which one to use. However, mastering grammar is crucial in today’s society. Here are some useful tips to help remember which word to use.

  • It’s important to understand the context and meaning of the sentence.
  • An easy trick to remember similar-sounding words is by creating a mnemonic device or a catchy phrase.
  • Creating flashcards with the words and the meaning on the opposite side can help reinforce memory recall.
  • Always proofread your work, as it can help identify any errors that you might have missed.

These tips may take some practice, but with time and dedication, it’ll become easier to remember which word to use.


In conclusion, defense and defence are two words that have a common origin but different meanings. In British English, the word ‘defence’ is used to refer to protective measures while in American English it’s spelled as ‘defense.’ To remember which one should be used when writing or speaking, try using mnemonics or other memory tricks such as associating each spelling with its country of origin – Britain for ‘defence’ and America for ‘defense.’ With these tips in mind you can use either word correctly no matter where you find yourself!


What is the difference between defence and defense?

The main difference between defence and defense is their spelling. Defence is the spelling used in British English, while defense is the spelling used in American English. Both words are derived from the Latin defendere, which means “to ward off or protect”. They have similar meanings, but different spellings according to their language of origin.

How do I remember which one to use?

In general, if you are writing for an audience that mainly speaks British English (e.g., UK readers), then use the word defence. If you’re writing for an audience that mainly speaks American English (e.g., US readers), then use defense. Or, if you’re unsure of your audience’s language dialect, then use both spellings interchangeably.

What is an example of a sentence that uses each word correctly?

For defence: The castle was built to provide defence against invading forces.

For defense: The defendant argued in court that he acted in self-defense.

Are there any other tips for using these words correctly?

When using either word, remember to keep the spelling consistent throughout your writing. Don’t switch back and forth between the two versions as this can confuse readers. Additionally, when you are referring to sports teams (e.g., NFL’s Denver Broncos), use the American spelling – defense. Other than that, just remember which spelling is associated with which type of English and you should be good to go! 

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