My professor used the word authentification in a lecture. I have always used authentication. Is it a real word or is authentication the correct term?

  • Several other languages use the form with "fi" and even though the "authentication" is correct in english, "authentification" suggests itself. Also "Authentification" in this exact form comes from french. – Qwerty May 9 '17 at 9:27

Authentication is the preferred form in English. The variant authentification is acceptable, but less common—it’s often used by non-native speakers who aren’t aware that it’s less idiomatic in English, because authentification (or an analogue) is the correct form (or at least widely accepted) in many eastern & western European languages:

  • Azerbaijani: autentifikasiyası
  • Basque: autentifikazio
  • Belarusian: аўтэнтыфікацыя (autentyfikatsyja)
  • Bosnian: autentifikacija
  • Corsican: autentificazione
  • Czech: autentifikace
  • Danish: autentificering
  • Dutch: autenti(fi)catie
  • French: authentification
  • German: Authenti(fi)kation
  • Haitian: otantifikasyon
  • Kazakh: аутентификация (autyentifikatsiya)
  • Latvian: autentifikācija
  • Lithuanian: autentifikavimas
  • Luxembourgish: authentifikatioun
  • Romanian: autentificare
  • Russian: аутентификация (autyentifikatsiya)
  • Spanish: autenti(fi)cación
  • Ukrainian: автентифікація (avtyentifikatsiya)
  • Uzbek: autentifikatsiya

(Source: Google Translate—transliterations from Cyrillic are a best effort and may not be standard/accurate for all languages.)

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary and Wikipedia, authentication was the original form, via Latin authenticare, from Greek αὐθεντικός (authentikos), from αὐθέντης (authentis) “author” + -ικός (-ikos) “relating to”—cf. Latin -ic(us).

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the change to authentification seems to have happened in the mid-18th century—in English at least. It likely arose by analogy with similar words such as personification, modification, ratification, unification, &c., which all include the Latin element -fic-, from ficare, the combining form of facere, “to make”.

  • 8
    In German it is also spelled Authentifikation, and I see it getting mistranslated to authentification every time. – kapex Dec 5 '13 at 10:11
  • 4
    In Russian it is also spelled with fi: Аутентификация (Autentificatsiya). – Igonato Mar 19 '14 at 10:35
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    We have clients: From Austria, Germany and Spain, many of them are English speakers but they insists to use Authentification!!! – Sakher Apr 10 '15 at 16:47
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    It looks like authentification has been gaining popularity; it's about 4x more popular today than it was in the 60s. That being said, authentication is still approximately 700-800 times more prevalent. Link to Google ngram viewer: books.google.com/ngrams/… – saritonin Jun 30 '15 at 20:21
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    In Czech it is also "Autentifikace", that's why I am having such a hard time to get it right when using english. – FanaticD Jul 16 '15 at 5:54

Authentification is a French word. After a bit on research on its origin, it would seem that the word is actually composed of three parts :

  • authentique (authentic)
  • fic → faire (to do)
  • ation → action

Source: http://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/authentification

  • 9
    Actually "faire" doesn't explain the "c" in there - I would guess that this came from the "c" in Latin "facere". Also your use of "action" (which comes from "agere" + "-io" suffix) is kind of misleading, I'd say it's actually the "-io" suffix at work on a form of "facere", nothing to do with the verb at root in "action". – asveikau Oct 8 '12 at 6:06
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    and the 'c' is a remnant of Latin's c in the verb facio (I do), facere, feci, factum from which faire derives. – Merk Oct 8 '12 at 6:07

protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 18:38

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