‘Authentication' or 'Authentification': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on June 12, 2023

Do you want to know the difference between 'authentication' or 'authentification?' I can help!

Here is the quick answer: 

  • 'Authentication' is a term that means a process by which something is proven to be original or credentials are verified. 
  • 'Authentification' is a misspelling of the English term 'authentication.'
  • 'Aunthentificaiton' is the French word for 'authentication.'

You can learn more about why the first word is accurate and the second is a misspelling in this comprehensive guide that covers the definition, usage examples, and pronunciation. Learning everything there is to know about a word helps you to remember it. So, keep reading to become an 'authentication' expert.

What's the Difference Between 'Authentication' or 'Authentification?'

The significant difference between 'authentication' and 'authentification' is that the first is the correct spelling of an English term, while the second is a French word. Both words have the same meaning. However, using the latter is inappropriate unless you are speaking to a French audience.

  • Both terms are derived from the French word autentiquer, which comes from the Latin word authenticatus, to verify as genuine.

'Authentication' is a noun name for the process of verifying something.

So, these terms mean the same thing, but only 'authentication' is a correct English term. 'Authentification' is a misspelling. It would be best if you only used it when speaking in French or writing a text that incorporates French and English terms or quotes by French and English characters.

When Do You Use 'Authentication?'

Now that you know that 'authentication' is the correct English spelling, let's review when and how to use it.

  • Use 'authentication' to refer to a process apps use to verify your identity.

For example, you might hear someone say:

Having to go through the multi-step authentication on this website is annoying.

  • Use 'authentication' to refer to the process of receiving a certificate of authenticity.

For example, I might say:

Sometimes the authentication process is lengthy, but you can sell valuable items for more money with a certificate of authenticity from a reputable third-party organization

  • Use 'authentication' to refer to any process that verifies that an object is original or genuine.

For example, you might say:

In retrospect, I should not have rushed into that purchase. Having a professional authentication done would have saved me time and money.

  • Use 'authentication' for the process of verifying that someone is a natural person.

For example, you might read:

Verified accounts are more likely to receive likes and direct messages. The authentication process is relatively straightforward. Just upload a copy of you holding your DL or ID and a piece of paper with today's date, and our authentication team will review your account. 

Definition of 'Authentication': What Does 'Authentication' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of 'authentication' is:

  • The task, process, or steps to verify something as original, genuine, or authentic

It can also mean:

  • A process by which the originality of a piece of art is verified
  • To encrypt or decrypt something

Synonyms of 'Authentication'

  • Background check
  • Appraisal
  • Vetting
  • Investigating
  • Testament
  • Certified
  • Testimony
  • Attestation
  • Evidence
  • Proof
  • Documentation
  • Confirmation
  • Verification
  • Identification
  • Substantiation

Phrases and Terms Related to 'Authentication'

  • Authentication keys
  • Two-step authentication
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Video authentication
  • Personal authentication
  • Authentication methods
  • Authentication techniques
  • Authentication documents
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Authentication code
  • Failed authentication

Pronunciation: How Do You Pronounce 'Authentication?'

Now that you know how to spell and use 'authentication,' let's look at the pronunciation for both terms. Knowing how to pronounce these terms correctly will give you the confidence to use them when conversing with friends or family or writing business communications. Understanding the difference in the way these terms sound can also help you remember the correct spelling.

Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'authentication' correctly:

au-then-ti-kay-shen or au-then-ti-kā-shen

Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'authentification':


Notice there is no or sound in the first word.

Sample Sentences Using 'Authentication'

Finally, here are some examples of 'authentication' used in a sentence. Please read them to learn how to use this word in different contexts.

  • After the investor received the artwork he purchased at the auction, he realized the authentication was falsified and the con artists likely never had possession of the original.
  • You must ensure you have the authentication completed by a knowledgeable third party. Otherwise, it is not worth the paper it is printed on.
  • He knew he needed to get an authentication of the pieces before he bought them, but he went against his better judgment.
  • You could lose the respect of your customers if you sell products without first completing the authentication process to ensure they are genuine.
  • Even without authentication, the scientific discovery sold for millions at auction. The sale set a record.
  • Have you ever been on a site that responded so slowly that you could not complete the authentication before it timed out?
  • Website authentication helps to keep visitors' identities out of the hands of cybercriminals.
  • As soon as they complete the authentication, you will receive a call from the HR team welcoming you aboard. During the call, they will provide you with critical information to help you set up direct deposit and tax withholdings.
  • Even with advanced multi-factor authentication, hackers can hijack sites and cost site owners an arm and a leg.

Final Advice on the Difference Between 'Authentication' or 'Authentification'

You've learned everything there is to know about the difference between 'authentication' or 'authentification,' but let's do a quick recap: 

  • 'Authentication' is an English noun for the process, task, job, or steps used to verify the originality or authenticity of something.
  • 'Authentification' is the French word for the term above. 
  • Both words have the same meaning, but only 'authentication' is acceptable as an accurate English spelling. 

Even after all that you learned, these two words sound very similar. So they are easy to mix up. But if you get stuck, you can always come back to review this lesson.

If you want to expand your vocabulary and learn to use commonly misspelled, mispronounced, and misused terms, the other confusing words guides here are an excellent resource.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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