The Oxford English Dictionary includes three words that all appear to have the same meaning: participation, participance, and participancy. I'm curious if there is a difference between the three.

participation n. The process or fact of sharing in an action, sentiment, etc.; (now esp.) active involvement in a matter or event, esp. one in which the outcome directly affects those taking part. Frequently with in.

parˈticipance n. rare = participancy n.

parˈticipancy n. the fact or quality of participating in something.

The word "participation" is far more common than the latter two. This answer lays out a distinction between participation and participancy, but I am still unclear if participance can be differentiated between participation.

What is the difference between the word "participation" and the word "participance"?


1 Answer 1


One difference is that since participance is used less commonly, it sounds a bit formal, and one expects to hear it in contexts such as politics, law, etc.

Another difference, in my view, is in the meanings of the suffixes "-tion" and "-ance (-ence)":

"-tion" is broader in sense, indicating state, condition, action, process, or result

while "-ence", having a more limited signification, only means "the act of ____" and is bare of any other possible connotations.

One such distinction can be seen here: https://wikidiff.com/continuance/continuation

On the meaning of "–ance" and "-ence": https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/231328

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