The key difference between gray and grey is that gray is the American way of spelling whereas grey is the English way of spelling of the word referring a specific color.
Before we explore the difference between gray and grey in detail, let us first have a look at what grey actually is. As said by the Oxford English dictionary, grey is “a colour intermediate between black and white, as of ashes or lead.” Grey is used as an adjective, noun and a verb.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What Does Grey Mean
3. What Does Gray Mean
4. Side by Side Comparison – Gray vs Grey in Tabular Form
What Does Grey Mean?
It is said that grey was the way the British spelled the word in the 20th century. The same spelling was adopted by the Canadians as well. The English way of pronunciation became more popular. Until the spelling gray came to be used, the spelling in vogue was grey.
What Does Gray Mean?
The word gray, as mentioned before, has the meaning of ‘a color that is between white and black’. In fact, it lies somewhere between the extremes of white and black. You can use gray or grey to refer to any object or an animal of the color gray. Moreover, the term gray is comparatively modern in comparison to grey.
It is interesting to note that grey/gray is also used as an adjective. For example: ‘gray day,’ ‘gray mood,’ and ‘gray hair.’
Also, the word gray as a noun is used to indicate ‘the SI unit for the energy absorbed from ionizing radiation, equal to one joule per kilogram’. The abbreviation of the unit is ‘Gy,’ this name was given after the British radio-biologist, Louis Harold Gray (1905-1965). This particular meaning is, of course, used only in a particular context. Hence, the main difference between gray and grey is their spelling.
What is the Difference Between Gray and Grey?
Gray vs Grey
|Gray is the American way of spelling||Grey is the English way of spelling|
|Comparatively modern||Used for a long period of time|
|indicate “the SI unit for the energy absorbed from ionizing radiation, equal to one joule per kilogram.”||No such usage|
Summary – Gray vs Grey
Both words grey and gray refer to the intermediate colour between black and white. The only difference between gray and grey is gray is the American way of spelling whereas grey is the English way of spelling.
1. “Grays” By Knulclunk, vectorized by Fvasconcellos (talk · contribs) – Vector version of w:Image:Greys.png (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
Being raised in the deep south (of the United States), I was taught the correct spelling was “grey”. In the seventh grade I was introduced to the spelling “gray” and was instructed that the “gray” spelling was only to be used in reference to a formal name (Mr. and/or Mrs. Gray). Since then, the “grey” spelling has been fading away and is rarely seen. The joke here is that it makes spelling easier for some (such as “metre” becoming “meter” etc.) and soon words like “easy” will be “ez”.