Grey or Gray Color – What is Correct?


  1. Grey is the preferred spelling in British English.
  2. Gray is the preferred spelling in American English.
Especially or Specially

Both “grey” and “gray” represent a shade of gray, a neutral color situated between black and white. The etymology of these words traces back to the Old English word “grǣg.” Over time, different spellings emerged, with “gray” becoming the accepted spelling in America and “grey” being favored in England and other English-speaking countries like Australia and Canada.

The distinction between these variants primarily pertains to regional linguistic evolution. In British English, the word “grey” is preferred, whereas in American English, the word “gray” is more common. Samuel Johnson, the renowned lexicographer, might have influenced the British spelling, while linguistic changes in the United States led to the American spelling we recognize today.

Interestingly, there are other words and proper nouns in the English language that employ these spellings. For instance, the dog breed “greyhound” and the type of fish called “grayling” are examples where the color’s name is integrated. The color has also inspired pop culture; consider the novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” or the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Moreover, these words go beyond simple color descriptors. Think about phrases like “gray area,” which denotes something ambiguous or unclear, or the famous “Earl Grey tea,” named after a historical figure from the United Kingdom. The term “grey hair” is used interchangeably in the English-speaking world to describe aging, regardless of whether one is from the United States or the United Kingdom.

Ultimately, the “correct” spelling boils down to the context and the intended audience. An American audience might lean toward the American spelling, while those in the United Kingdom or other English-speaking nations might lean toward the British version. Yet, it’s essential to understand that many English speakers worldwide use the two spellings interchangeably. Regardless of the shade or variant you choose, the key is consistency within any single piece of writing.


  • Is it gray or grey for color?

Published on: 2023-10-06
Updated on: 2023-10-07

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Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.