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Which is correct: synced or synched? Is one of these American and the other British spelling or are they interchangeable?

I have only ever seen sync used in the computing industry.

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sync, sanc, sunc???? – Peter Shor Oct 27 '11 at 12:39
since the word is the short form for "synchronization" I'd suggest to analyze the word's morphology: syn- "together" (see syn-) + khronos "time" (see chrono-). so the second word's TWO LETTERS form /k/ sound ("ch" = "k") and thus - I believe the use of "synched" would be logically correct – Rossitten Dec 1 '15 at 20:48
@Rossitten i have a different take. the shortened verb is sync not synch. to me, sync is what you're conjugating, so synced makes the most sense. it's also shorter, which i tend to prefer by default. – sgroves Jan 25 at 18:10
@sgroves, mks sns, m8 ) – Rossitten Jan 26 at 19:51

11 Answers 11

up vote 18 down vote accepted

The Corpus of Contemporary American English has 30 incidences of synced and 14 of synched. Over half of the incidences of synced are from the magazine PC World, though. Synced does appear to be most commonly used in computing contexts.

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There is a Unix command called sync, from section 8 of the manual (system administration). That may have influenced it. I guess you could write that you'd sync (8)ed the disks, but certainly synched looked better than the hypothetical (and largely unattested) syncked. – tchrist Mar 19 '13 at 18:40

synch is a variant of sync, and sync (synced) is the one mostly used.

Both are the informal short form of synchronization.

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as a verb, it’s short for synchronize – nohat Aug 13 '10 at 19:38

I have several computer-savvy friends, and they use the word a lot. I have only ever seen synced.

Looking at the Ngram of "synced" vs. "synched", I see that since the widespread use of computers, "synched" is becoming more popular. However, the spellchecker on this site does not recognize "synched", and Dictionary.com does not help with the past tense form of "sync". So make of that what you will.

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The OED records the word as a noun and gives both spellings.

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I presume that's for "sync"/"synch". What about "synced"/"synched"? – Hugo Oct 27 '11 at 11:22
@Hugo: There is no separate entry for 'sync/synch' as a verb. However, the noun entry includes these two citations: 'If they . . . are synced with a clock and thus with each other' and 'They wanted it synched to within one frame.' The entry also says that 'sink' is another form of the word. – Barrie England Oct 27 '11 at 11:41

American English: American English

British English: British English

Synced is more popular than synched for both American and British English, but the gap is closer in British English.

I've seen both used in the computer industry. The common and my preferred way of abbreviating synchronous is sync, rather than synch, partly because it makes more sense to pronounce it as sink than sinch and the shorter abbreviation is simpler and clearer. Also to avoid any confusion with the slang word cinch (pronounced sinch).

For similar reasons and consistency, I'd recommend synced over synched and async over asynch.

You'll also save ink and disk space.

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Don't both of these graphs show the popularity of synched, not synced? – onomatomaniak Dec 20 '11 at 8:25
It appears that way to me as well. @Hugo should clarify or correct. -1 until then. – AllInOne Dec 26 '12 at 17:00
Don't know why his graph stopped at the year 2000, because right after that, synced overtook synched. books.google.com/ngrams/… – shishir garg Sep 8 '13 at 18:35

Both are questionable abbreviations of "synchronized".

If one insists on the "sync" neologism, then "synced" looks more reasonable to me.

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Why are they "questionable"? – delete Aug 14 '10 at 3:20
Because they are not in the dictionary. – Pavel Radzivilovsky Aug 14 '10 at 21:47
Which dictionary is "the" dictionary? Because they are in some dictionaries. – Ben Hocking May 12 '11 at 12:53
There was the expression "in sync" even before computers got involved. – GEdgar Jun 29 '11 at 14:22
@PavelRadzivilovsky dictionaries attempt to describe language. they don't define it. – sgroves Jan 25 at 18:12

In the Roman Alphabet, the voiceless velar fricative is represented by the ch digraph. However, most words containing a voiceless velar fricative in borrowee language have the voiceless velar fricative coverted into a voiceless velar plosive, due to English-speakers' traditional inability to voice the appropriate pronunciation.

Thus, in the english language,because the H in Synchronise no longer serves a purpose at all (the ch digraph being converted into a sound that can be represented solely by C), Sync would be more correct that Synch would if you're following the rules established in the English language.


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I'm a longtime American IT executive, not a linguist, but I see both variations in IT:

  • "sync" is very common, e.g., in the name of the widespread utility "rsync" (of Australian origin); "synch" is less common but still frequently seen
  • "synched" is more common than "synced"
  • "synching" is uncommon; "syncing" is uncommon, too, especially recently
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"Synced" is a little confusing for the reader since it could be pronounced like "since", thus the "synched" spelling is probably to make it more readable.

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Of course, "synched" can easily be pronounced as "cinched" by mistake. – mipadi Jul 8 '11 at 19:26

The grammar rule which has applied to words ending with the letter C states the addition of the K, as in picnicked, shellacked, tarmacked, mimicked, zincked, etc. While we're talking about the abbreviations of synchronize which allow sync or synch, the version we choose determines what is proper. Ultimately, this is a decision between synched (which I would discourage, but that's just my opinion) or syncked, never synced.

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-1. This "rule" doesn't match usage even a little for sync[h], and I'm frankly dubious about several of your other examples. – user1579 Jun 29 '11 at 12:05

The word you are actually looking for is "synchronised" (BE) or "synchronized" (AE)

"Synced" is an incorrect extension of the abbreviation "sync" which is equal to "synch" (it has just been abbreviated one letter more).

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protected by Jasper Loy Apr 25 '12 at 18:57

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