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I have been changing 'drafty' for 'draughty', or because of my confusion, removing the word altogether while subbing online articles.

I'd appreciate guidance on which term is correct for UK English.

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Draft is principally an American English variant that, like many other such simplified spellings, has entered the British English lexicon as an increasingly acceptable alternative spelling. Draft is also considered the standard British English spelling for certain definitions such as a technical drawing, a preliminary or rough version, or the act or result of "drawing" from or upon something (e.g. a Military Draft.)

Draughty is preferable for British English as this is the more common spelling when referring to a current of air.

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Is it pronounced the same? I'm not seeing an F sound in there. – mmyers Oct 6 '10 at 15:18
Yes, it's the same - as in "laugh." – PyroTyger Oct 6 '10 at 16:09

This is entirely subjective, and coming from a BritEng, but I see these differences:

  • Draft I would use for being taken into military service, for a preliminary drawing.

  • Draughts I would use for the game (that's checkers for AmEng, I believe)

  • For the windy variety, I'd be comfortable with either.

Wikipedia seems to agree, and has more detail.

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The free dictionary says

draughty US, drafty


drafty [ˈdrɑːftɪ] ...

the usual US spelling of draughty

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I would always use 'draughty' myself for the currents of cold air definition - like you I've been wrong-footed by the spelling checker online many times! I think it's extraordinary that despite our region there is no option for an English language setting as opposed to American.

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For any decent browser you can add spelling dictionaries in any language of your choice. It's possible you may need the to be available as an operating system language but that's no problem either. – Chris H Aug 1 '15 at 14:27

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