‘Adapter' or 'Adaptor': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 6, 2022

Do you need an ‘adapter’ or an ‘adaptor’ for your next trip overseas? Wondering what the difference is between ‘adapter’ and ‘adaptor’? We can help you distinguish between the two words. Plus, you’ll learn how to use it in a sentence correctly.

Not too keen on waiting? The short answer is that the difference between the two is:

  • ‘Adapter’ is the American English spelling of the word.
  • ‘Adaptor’ is the UK English spelling of the word.

‘Adapter’ vs. Adaptor: Is There a Difference?

As you just learned, there’s no real difference between the two words except that one is the American English spelling of the word, and the other is the UK English spelling of the word.

Difference Between Adapter and Adaptor

Now you know that there’s really no difference between ‘adapter’ and ‘adaptor,’ other than their spelling and the countries that use them.

Definition and Meaning

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word ‘adapter’ is: “one that adapts,” “a device for connecting two parts (as of different diameters) of an apparatus,” and “an attachment for adapting apparatus for uses not originally intended.”

The Cambridge definition is: “a type of plug that makes it possible to connect two or more pieces of equipment to the same electrical supply.”

It’s also defined as: “a person who makes slight changes to a book, play, or another piece of text so that it can be performed.”

How to Use ‘Adapter’ and ‘Adaptor’ in a Sentence Correctly

Now that we’re a bit more familiar with the word, let’s see how to use both versions in a sentence correctly.

  • I need an adapter/adaptor for my holiday trip to Paris next week.
  • She’s an adapter/adaptor for a TV show in Los Angeles.
  • I lost my adapter/adaptor, so I can’t charge my phone.
  • You need an adapter/adaptor to connect the TV to the game system.
  • Sorry to bother you, but can I use your adapter/adaptor?

As you can see, the words can be used interchangeably since they mean the same thing.

Final Thoughts on ‘Adapter’ and ‘Adaptor’

Now that we’ve covered ‘adapter’ and ‘adaptor’ and you know what they mean and how to use them in a sentence correctly, you should have no issues using them in your writing.

If you’re ever struggling, remember that the American English version is easier to remember. Easier ends in ‘er,’ and so does the American English version of‘ adapter.’

Don't be afraid to come back and check out our library of content on confusing words and phrases. Even native English speakers have trouble with the language from time to time. So, don't be afraid to come back and brush up on what you've learned so far.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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