I constantly hear people use the word "resiliency" (especially sports broadcasters and the like). I've always used "resilience" instead. Is there a preferred word to use in any given situation?

As far as I can gather they are exact synonyms.

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    The OED has 190 word-pairs of the same form as resilience/resiliency. Some of these sound weird, but many are normal. abstinence/abstinency, complacence/complacency, emergence/emergency, expedience/expediency, flatulence/flatulency, impotence/impotency, potence/potency, prurience/pruriency, refulgence/refulgency, sufficience/sufficiency, transcendence/transcendency, truculence/truculency, virulence/virulency, and many more. – tchrist Jan 8 '13 at 11:34
  • @tchrist That's very interesting. Of those I almost always go for the former, with the exception of potency. complacence/complacency is an interesting pair because I actually use both of those words interchangeably. – Evan Jan 8 '13 at 23:12
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    I have never heard emergency used to mean emergence. – John Y May 29 '13 at 7:16

Resiliency is just a variant of resilience. Which one is used is a matter of style and personal preference. I would always use resilience because it's one syllable shorter than resiliency. Others may have different opinions. It doesn't matter because they are, as you suggest, exact synonyms, except for the pretentiousness of the longer word: resiliency. All verbosity is pretentious.

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    Don't you mean sesqipedalianism? ;-) – Jim Jan 8 '13 at 5:59
  • @Jim: It's sesquipedalianism too, but this is one of those cases in which I think a judgmental rather than a merely descriptive term is appropriate. – user21497 Jan 8 '13 at 6:03
  • No, I meant you to say all sesquipedalianism is pretentious ;-) – Jim Jan 8 '13 at 6:05
  • @Jim: That's too restrictive. Sesquipedalianism is just one form of verbosity. Perhaps, though, I'm stretching the definition of verbosity in this case. But if only speech is analyzed, then there is only a single stream of sound and verbosity is measured by length of time and not necessarily number of words. We do not disagree. :-) – user21497 Jan 8 '13 at 6:10
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    Sometimes my sense of humor fails to kick in. <(B=O – user21497 Jan 8 '13 at 6:16

Resilience is the more accepted form in the USA.

[I]n today’s English, resilience is far more common than resiliency, especially outside the U.S. and Canada. In North American publications, resilience appears about four times as often as resiliency. Outside North America, resiliency appears only rarely.

Though resilience is more common, resiliency is not incorrect. Both words are around five centuries old, and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that resilience prevailed by a significant margin. Still, there’s no reason not to use the shorter, more common form. - Grammarist


My opinion is that "resilience" is the CORRECT usage. Americans especially seem to like adding syllables for some unknown reason. Maybe to sound smarter?

  • Welcome to EL&U. Your answer should say why you hold that resilience is the only correct form, with an explanation, examples in the wild, and suitable references; unsupported opinions are not in line with StackExchange's model. I encourage you to take the site tour and visit the help center for guidance. – choster Dec 5 '14 at 19:49
  • Even in England, resiliency was as common as resilience until just over a century ago. England's usage mutated to a greater degree than western usage did. When the opposite happens (American usage changes where British usage does not), it is often claimed that Americans are corrupting the language. Yet in this case Americans didn't change, but they're still wrong? Thanks for the example of "not like me = bad." – Darryl Oct 24 '16 at 17:37
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    Incidentally, I'm from the United States and strongly prefer "resilience" over "resiliency," as do most Americans. – Darryl Oct 24 '16 at 17:39

Resiliency has become very popular with sports broadcasters when describing the emotional grit of a team in competition. It is part of an alarming trend for former athletes to try to appear professorial in their post career work in television. It falls into the category of wearing unneeded glasses, never referring to a ball or a team without the full reference to the sport (football instead of just ball, football team instead of just team etc.). I wish all of that would die a quick death but it has incredible resilience.


Resiliency is identical in meaning to resilience. To be fair I have only ever heard resiliency used by Americans.

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