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How to Spell Centre (Centre or Center?)

Is it spelled "center" or "centre"?
Center or centre?



If you’re questioning whether “center” and “centre” mean the same thing, the answer is that they do. Both are correct spellings of the noun which can mean, “the middle point or part of something”; or “a building or place used for a particular purpose or activity”.



Center vs. centre

The meaning of “center” and “centre” is the same (both refer to the same concept; i.e., a central point or place). The difference between the spellings lies in regional spelling conventions and preferences:


  • US English spells “center” with “er” at the end;



  • British English, “centre” is the common spelling.



Definition of centre/center

The word center/centre can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it has similar but slightly different meanings and uses:


  • To refer to the middle point or part of something; e.g., “caramels with soft centers“.


  • To mean the main part of a town or city where there are a lot of shops and offices; e.g., “major urban/industrial centers“.



As a verb, center/centre refers to “the person or thing around which most activity takes place; to make somebody/something the central person or thing”. An example of “centre” as a verb is in the sentence, “Conversation centered around their wedding plans”.



Other “-er”/”-re” words

Other words that share the “-er” / “-re” suffix follow the same spelling convention. Likewise, these words also conform to the same regional spellings rules:


UK EnglishUS English
centrecenter
theatretheater
fibrefiber
metremeter



Sentences with centre/center

There was a long table in the center/centre of the room.

The statue is in the very center/centre of the temple.

He walked to the center/centre of the circle.

The university is a leading center/centre for scientific research.

Small towns in South India serve as economic and cultural centers/centres for the surrounding villages.



Synonyms of centre/centre

  • heart
  • hub
  • place
  • midpoint (adjective)



Origin of centre/centre

From Etymonline:


Late 14c., “middle point of a circle; point round which something revolves,” from Old French centre (14c.), from Latin centrum “center,” originally the fixed point of the two points of a drafting compass, from Greek kentron “sharp point, goad, sting of a wasp”. 



Learn more about US English vs. UK English



Sources

  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of centre.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 11 February, 2024.
  2. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, centre.


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