‘Gray' or 'Grey': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 13, 2023

Wondering whether to use ‘grey’ or ‘gray’? And what’s the difference anyway? We’ll cover that below, plus teach you how to use both in a sentence correctly.

In short, ‘grey’ and ‘gray’ are spelled differently, but they mean the same thing. However, ‘gray’ is more common in the U.S., while ‘grey’ is more common in other English-speaking countries, like the UK.

How Do You Spell the Color Gray?

Not sure how to spell the color gray? If you’re writing for an American audience, spell the color gray with an ‘a.’

If you’re writing for a British audience, use the spelling with the ‘e.’

Gray vs. Grey: What is the Difference?

There’s no real difference between the two words when it comes to definition and meaning.

‘Gray’ is more common than ‘grey.’

Except when it comes to Grey’s Anatomy, the popular medical drama TV show. You might be wondering why Grey’s Anatomy is spelled with the ‘e’ if that’s supposed to be the British spelling.

But the show was actually named after the classic medical text ‘Gray’s Anatomy,’ and in the show, the main character’s last name is ‘Grey,’ which is the only reason it’s spelled that way. It’s sort of a play on words.

You’ve already learned that ‘gray’ is the American English spelling of the word and ‘grey’ is the UK version.

That’s about all the differences there are. The words mean the exact same thing and, therefore, wouldn’t qualify as homophones.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Grey’ and ‘Gray’

So, what is the actual definition of these words?

Well, according to Merriam-Webster, the words refer to the color gray. It could also mean something dull in color, someone’s outlook or mood, or uninteresting.

Since they both mean the same thing, both definitions are the same in the dictionary.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Grey’ and ‘Gray’

Wondering how to pronounce them? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce ‘grey’ and ‘gray’ correctly, take a look at the phonetic spelling: GRAY.

It looks just like it sounds, unlike some words.

How to Use ‘Gray’ and ‘Grey’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what they mean and how to pronounce them let’s take a look at some examples of how to use them both in a sentence.

  • My sister bought me a beautiful gray sweater for Christmas. I love it!
  • I hung my gray jacket up in the closet as soon as I got home.
  • The sky looks so gray right now. I bet it’s going to rain later.
  • Why did you buy me a gray shirt? I don’t like light colors.
  • Callahan’s lecture was so gray I almost fell asleep.
  • At the photoshoot, there was nothing but gray and silver clothing.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘Gray’ and ‘Grey’

To recap, we learned that ‘gray’ and ‘grey’ both mean the same thing and that the former is the American English spelling of the word, and the latter is the spelling used in other countries around the world, such as the UK.

If you ever get stuck on something, feel free to come back and refresh your memory. We’ve got a whole library of content dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases people often have trouble with when learning the language. Go check it out.

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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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