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Armour vs. Armor

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Most people who are into Western media have read books or watched movies about a time, centuries past, when knights went to battle, clad in shiny metal uniforms meant to protect them from the murderous blades and arrows of their enemies. But what are those shiny metal clothes called? Is it a suit of armor, or a suit of armour?

The answer is not as simple as you might expect, and it involves spelling differences between American and British English. If you aren’t sure whether you should use armour or armor in your own writing, continue reading for an explanation of these two terms.

Origin:

The term armor first originated from Middle English: from Old French armure, from Latin armatura, from armare ‘to arm’.

Armor as noun:

Armor is used as a noun which means the metal coverings formerly worn to protect the body in battle.

The knights in armors approached us.

The tough metal layer covering a military vehicle or ship to defend it from attack is also called an armor.

Armor as verb:

Armor is also used as a verb in English language which means to provide (someone) with emotional, social, or other defences.

The knowledge armored him against her.

Use of Armour:

Armour is the British English spelling of the same word. It can be used in all the same contexts as armor. While, armor is the preferred spelling among American audiences, armour is the preferred spelling among British audiences.

Examples:

He has been training for two months, first starting with a vest and then adding bits of armour gradually. [BBC News]

A new study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that these odd-looking armoured creatures can spread leprosy. [Globe and Mail]

The vehicles are widely used by SWAT teams in the US, and feature advanced bulletproof and blastproof armour and ballistic glass windows. [Canberra Times]

Use of Armor:

Armor is the preferred spelling of this word in American English. These spellings originated after the revolutionary war when Americans decided it was time for them to get recognized in the world.

Examples:

The men wore heavy body armor even to the latrine inside their base. [NPR]

He seemed infinitely powerful—he had pierced America’s armor, after all—and impossible to reach. [Los Angeles Times]

Emotions, I learned, could be regarded as a chink in the pro-choice armor. [New York Daily News]

Armour or armor:

Armor is the American spelling of the noun meaning a protective covering. Armour is the preferred spelling in all the other main varieties of English. Other than the spelling, there is no difference between the words. You should use armor for predominantly American audiences, and armour for predominantly British audiences, regardless of context. These preferences hold true whether the word is being used as a noun or a verb. To help yourself remember when to use these words, remember that armour, the British variant, and U.K. are each spelled with a U. This shared letter can link armour to the British audiences who prefer this spelling.

 

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"Armour vs. Armor." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 24 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/armour_vs._armor>.

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