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What is the difference between color and colour?

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3 Answers

up vote 23 down vote accepted

According to the OED— This word comes to us from Latin, the world color-em, which was inherited by old French. The o segment was actually somewhere between [o] and [u] and was represented by the digraph ou in Old French. When this syllable became accented, it became fronted, represented by eu (this the Modern French couleur). The corrosponding English word of old is the ancestor of hue.

The world was adopted directly into Middle English as colur, later colour from the Old French color, culur, colur, later colour, and finally coulour, which was the preferred Anglo-French spelling. Colour was eventually standardized in post Anglo-French English. Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary is credited with standardizing the latinate color in American English.

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"Color" is favored in the United states, and "Colour" is favored (I believe) everywhere else.

Here is a Wikipedia article commenting on "or" vs. "our".

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4  
You meant "colour", not (ugh) "coulour". –  ShreevatsaR Aug 7 '10 at 16:53
18  
As an programmer, it takes years of training/swearing to remember to write color in code, yet colour everywhere else ;) –  Jon Hadley Aug 7 '10 at 19:53
2  
@jon, always made me wonder why Tim Berners Lee, himself British, used the American spelling throughout HTML, e.g. <FONT COLOR="#cc6600"> and not <FONT COLOUR="#cc6600"> and <TABLE BGCOLOR=...> and not <TABLE BGCOLOUR=...>. –  Edward Tanguay Aug 8 '10 at 1:39
3  
If he had used the British spelling, HTML would be forever earmarked as British. –  Arlen Beiler Aug 10 '10 at 2:01
24  
The FONT/COLOR tags were introduced by Netscape in a rush to add proprietary features, not by Tim Berners-Lee. The HTML 2.0 spec makes no mention of "COLOR". That first appeared in HTML 3.2 –  njd Aug 11 '10 at 9:35
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Colour - British English Color - American English the only different. Meaning of both are same.

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protected by tchrist Feb 17 '13 at 2:01

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