English: defense vs defence

Tutoring English, you can’t help but notice nuances.  Here’s one the English tutor has thought about since elementary school.

About 35 years ago I asked my elementary teacher whether to use defence or defense.  She was sporting; we looked in the dictionary together.  It was a British-focused one, so it preferred defence, still allowing defense.  Defense, I think it remarked, was American.

Today I have three different dictionaries in front of me.  Merriam-Webster says defence is a British variation of defense.  Oxford defines defense as “= defence.”  My Collins Essential Canadian English doesn’t have an entry for defense; it only contains defence.

Apparently, defense is American, while defence is British.  Here’s where the American one makes more sense, though:  as far as I can tell, defensive is spelled with an “s”, never with a “c”, in each of the dictionaries.  Possibly, the Yanks went with defense because of the spelling of defensive.

Thanks for coming by.  Cheers:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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