When referring to a device that measures tensile or compressive force, is the correct spelling strain gauge or strain gage?

I realize that in general gage is an archaic spelling of the word gauge, but which spelling should be used in this compound? (Context is an engineering dissertation on signal processing)


It's "gauge", whether it's a strain or a fuel gauge. Or a narrow gauge railroad, or a 12-gauge shotgun.

In my personal opinion it should be "gage" in all these cases because it is definitely not spelled the way it is pronounced. But who cares what I think?

"gauge" is the correct spelling in most cases, but "gage" does get used in technical situations, as Dictionary.com indicates.

Here's Dictionary.com's version. The spelling "gage" is an occasional variant, but mainly for technical use (see gage). Gage is largely an archaic spelling, and in one archaic use, a gage is "something, as a glove, thrown down by a medieval knight in token of challenge to combat."

  • Thanks, that's what I thought should be the correct spelling from my research, but a lot of professional sources use the other spelling. e.g. vishaypg.com/micro-measurements
    – Ben Voigt
    Sep 20 '13 at 23:49
  • 1
    Unless it's a greengage, in which case, it's definitely a gage.
    – Simon B
    Aug 31 '17 at 22:31
  • -1 Please cite your sources, especially as your answer is contrary to your "personal opinion".
    – Kris
    Jun 1 '18 at 11:04
  • @Kris, my source is the dictionary. Does this really need a source citation? Nevertheless, I've now cited it, so you can remove your downvote if you like. As for my personal opinion, it's a matter of spelling reform, like wishing "through" were spelled "thru", since English pronunciation of many words has evolved, while the spelling of them has not. Jun 7 '18 at 13:34
  • You may not have noticed but the down vote is not for not citing the source but for "gauge" is the correct spelling in all cases. See also, the link I provided in comment at OP.
    – Kris
    Jun 7 '18 at 13:43

There are actually companies whose business is the manufacturing of what I have always known as gauges and whose company name includes the word "Gage". What I have found is that there are some who believe gage is correct. I'm sticking with gauge. Gage is just wrong to me.

  • We can use comments to post personal opinions.
    – Kris
    Jun 1 '18 at 11:05

I work in a testing lab and we generally use gage when referring to the strain sensor .. gauge is used as in "hydraulic pressure gauge" however both spellings have been used here frequently in the 20 years I have worked here. No one has said we must use one spelling in preference over the other with reference to strain sensors..


There are dozens--if not hundreds--of "gage" manufacturers and vendors. Moreover, there are thousands of technical documents using the term "gage" to denote specialized measuring equipment.

Here is an excerpt from the Omega.com "Introduction to Strain Gages" article:

"A strain gage (sometimes referred to as a Strain gauge) is a sensor whose resistance varies with applied force; It converts force, pressure, tension, weight, etc., into a change in electrical resistance which can then be measured. When external forces are applied to a stationary object, stress and strain are the result. Stress is defined as the object's internal resisting forces, and strain is defined as the displacement and deformation that occur."

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