I know the meanings of "transport" and "transportation",are they just synonyms as Merriam-Webster appears to suggest or is there any difference in usage?

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    Perhaps you could quote the dictionary definitions for each word, and point out what it is you don't understand as a result of assessing each word's multiple usages. Oct 5, 2018 at 12:18
  • To start, transport can be used as a verb but transportation can't be. You need to provide some actual context for your question—give us an example sentence. Oct 5, 2018 at 16:08
  • @JasonBassford - the OP is referring to transport and transportation as nouns not verbs, as clearly stated in the title.
    – user 66974
    Oct 5, 2018 at 16:16
  • @user240918 It's still relevant in the context of some sentences—none of which have been provided. The senses given by Merriam-Webster also clearly have different meanings in some cases. So simply asking "What's the difference?" absent context is already sufficiently answered by simply following the dictionary links. The question, as asked, fails to show that they are "just synonyms." Oct 5, 2018 at 16:28
  • @JasonBassford - transport and transportation as nouns meaning means of conveyance are synonyms as shown in the dictionary. Is there any difference in usage as such? That’s the question.
    – user 66974
    Oct 5, 2018 at 16:30

2 Answers 2


It is chiefly a question of BrE usage vs AmE usage, but the meaning is the same as explained here:

Where Americans use transportation, Britons generally prefer transport. In American English, transport is only a verb (with rare exceptions). So where Americans say public transportation, transportation commissioner, and air transportation, Britons say public transport, transport commissioner, and air transport.

Neither transport nor transportation is right or wrong; they’re just different ways of saying the same thing.


Canadians us both transport and transportation, though the latter has the edge. Australians favor transport.

(The Grammarist)

It is not clear how these regional usage differences developped. What we know is that the usage of transport and transportation meaning “means of conveyance” date back to different centuries; late 17th c. for the former and mid-19th c. for the latter.

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    Don't see why user240918 got a vote-down; I have pushed it up again. Oct 5, 2018 at 16:44

In [] English, as opposed to [Am] English, The -ation ending refers to the act of carrying out an instance of the root word.

Thus transportation is the act of using transport to transport something. Similarly, fornication is the act and not the means of fornicating. Also palpation, occupation, participation, syncopation, usurpation, amortisation, atomisation, authorisation, causation, and so on.

The question is not why 'Merkins opted out of this convention, but how it came about - the deconventionalisation of (act of transporting) = transportation.

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  • 'In [] English, as opposed to [Am] English, The -ation ending refers to the act of carrying out an instance of the root word.' ... While often true, there are many exceptions. For instance, 'veneration', 'confederation', 'corrugation', 'cumulation', 'denticulation', 'respiration' 'taxation' and 'complication' are usually, and 'articulation', 'coloration', 'consolation', 'crenellation', 'damnation', 'decoration' and 'concentration' often, descriptive of a continuing attitude / state rather than an instantiation Feb 26 at 16:36

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