We all have a favorite movie, don’t we? Or maybe even a favorite brother or sister. But have you ever wondered about the spelling of these words? Is it favorite or favourite? Well, the answer is that both spellings are correct in the English language. It just depends on the type of English you write in.
In American English, the spelling is “favorite,” while in British English it’s “favourite.” So next time you write, keep in mind the distinction between the two spellings and use the one that aligns with your audience and context.
Favourite and Favorite: Definition and Meaning
Both ‘favorite’ and ‘favourite’ indicate you’re talking about something you love or like the most out of anything in that category. You like cake but your favorite (the best to you) is chocolate! That kind of thing. They’re used to show the thing, object, or person that you like the most.
Additionally, the words can also refer to the anticipated champion of a competition. Ex. The favorite to win the horse race today is Speedy McGee.
In today’s digital age, it can also pertain to liking something on social media or bookmarking a webpage to view it later (adding it to your favorites).
‘Favorite’ or ‘favourite’ can be used as an adjective, verb, or noun, and its meaning can vary depending on its function.
What’s the Difference Between Favourite vs Favorite?
Favourite and favorite are both accepted alternate spellings of the same word in the English language. The preferred spelling in the United States and American English is “favorite” without a “u”, while the preferred spelling in British English, Canadian English, New Zealand English, and Australian English is “favourite” with a “u”.
But why do these different spellings exist?
British lexicographer Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary had a distinct preference for -our- spellings, which became the standard in Britain and countries under British rule. On the other hand, American lexicographer Noah Webster wanted to distinguish U.S. English from British English, and his 19th-century American dictionary promoted -or- spellings, as seen in words like favorite, color, and humor.
Using Favorite as an Adjective
When referring to something as an adjective, favorite or favourite both describe a thing, person or object that is liked the best out of all others. Synonyms include best, top pick, preferred, and cherished.
Here are some example sentences:
- My favorite boat and movie is Titanic.
- Do you have a favorite type of ice cream?
- My favorite color is yellow.
Using Favorite as a Noun
As a noun, favorite or favourite refers to a person or thing that is highly esteemed. In sports, it also refers to a competitor that is likely to win. Synonyms include preference, front-runner, and darling.
Here are some examples:
- Chocolate frozen yogurt is a common favorite among adults.
- The favorites to win the ice-skating marathon are from Iceland.
- That recipe is a crowd favorite.
With the increasing popularity of social media, the plural noun favorites or favourites has also taken on a new meaning. It’s now a metric that people use to measure the popularity of a post on a social media platform.
- The influencer’s post got 1000 likes and 500 favorites.
Using Favorite as a Verb
When used as a verb, the word favourite or favorite is when you like something on social media such as Instagram or Twitter. If you’re browsing the web and you want to favorite a website to access it later, that’s also called favoriting or adding to favorites. The word can be used in present participle form (favoriting, favouriting), past participle form (favorited, favorites), and infinitive form (favorite, favourite).
Here are some example sentences:
- Favorite that webpage for later! You’ll need to read it again.
- You have to check out this hilarious post I favorited.
- You can often find me favouriting any post with chocolate in it!
Takeaway for Spelling Favourite or Favorite
An easy way to remember if you should spell it favorite or favourite is to just add a U if you’re spelling in British English. A lot of the world uses American English as the preferred spelling, especially in business, but if you’re in a commonwealth country, it’s a safe bet to go with the British English version. If you’re writing an academic paper or working for a new company, you can also just ask what people use locally! Good luck!
If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in learning about the difference between too and to.