I've always believed the past tense of sync ("I sync my phone with my computer") to be synced ("I synced my phone with my computer yesterday"). This question would seem to suggest either synced or synched. I have a friend who insists the past tense is sunk. I'd appreciate if you could make this clear for me.

  • 4
    It's not sunk. Sunk is the past tense of sink which is spelt differently to sync.
    – Ambo100
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 13:41
  • @Ambo100 That's what I thought; perhaps my friend is just confused, or perhaps he spells "sunk" differently for "sync" (I have only heard him say it out loud).
    – NickAldwin
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 13:42
  • It's a a matter of working out if it's synced or synched, In that case I think you'll find the answer here
    – Ambo100
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 13:46
  • 2
    @Ambo100: And it doesn't even matter if the word is spelled differently, e.g. lie (recline) -> lay but lie (speak untruths) -> lied. Another: ring (bell sound) -> rang but ring (circle) -> ringed. Homophony doesn't entail monomorphy.
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 16:26
  • I was always intrigued by set (cement) -> set but set (pupils) -> setted, and by bid (farewell) -> bade but bid (at auction) -> bid (UK) or, I believe, bidded (US). I also find fascinating that we usually seem to use the past tense sped in the UK (he sped up the motorway) except in the multi-word-verb expression speed up (when he realised how late he was, he speeded up). Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 22:59

5 Answers 5


The past tense is "synced". "Sunk" is the past tense of "sink" which sounds the same but is a completely different word. "Synced" appears to have made its way into dictionaries:

Edit: As others have pointed out, "synch" and "synched" are acceptable variants.

  • 6
    Perhaps I'm the only one in the world, but I've also used sync'd in the past, which is what I (computer geek) tend to do to put an odd computerish word in the past tense. Now that I know it's "official" to say "synced", I'll do so.
    – Wayne
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 15:21
  • @Wayne: I have seen "sync'd" but the apostrophe was likely dropped when the non-tech world began using the word.
    – MrHen
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 15:26
  • perhaps sync'd was short for synchronized, but now that sync is an accepted word, it has its own past tense form?
    – NickAldwin
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 17:01
  • @Wayne I have also used and seen sync'd, but recently that's been trending toward synched. I still know plenty of people who insist on using sunk too.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 18:29
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    @marcus: The correct pronunciation is similar to "sinked". Trying to update the pronunciation or spelling so that they match sounds similar to Hypercorrection. This is just another word in English that needs to be remembered as an exception. For what it is worth, this is probably one of the reasons the word was originally spelled sync'd -- it forced the reader to register the word as a variant of sync which itself derived from synchronize.
    – MrHen
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 18:43

The past tense of to sync, which is to synchronise, is synced:

Example taken from the NOAD: The flash needs to be synced to your camera.

Since the verb can also be spelt as to synch, the related past tense can also be synched.


The past tense of sync is synced, while the past tense of synch (which is the alternative to sync) is synched.
Sync is a short for synchronize; I would rather avoid the short version, and say synchronized when you need the past tense.

  • "Sync" is a word. You can use it without fear along with "synced" and "syncing".
    – MrHen
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 13:50
  • 2
    @MrHen I know it's a word, but if I have to debate with somebody else if the past tense is sunk or synced, I prefer using synchronized.
    – apaderno
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 14:02

It is most certainly not "sunk." This having been said, there's probably no lasting harm in your friend's colloquial use of the word, unless he's representing you or your company in any official capacity. In which case, I'd consider "sunk" sunk.


I personally prefer to use sync'd or synched, as I believe that if it is spelt synced then it would be pronounced sinst.

  • 1
    This is the correct rationale for the currently accepted past tense forms of sync'd and synched.
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 13:49
  • I dislike "synced". It is well established that the verb "to picnic" adds a "k" in its "-ing" and "-ed" forms. Since the verb "to sync" is derived from "synchronized", an "h" would be more appropriate than a "k", but I think the same principle should apply.
    – supercat
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 22:05

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