‘Pyjamas' or 'Pajamas': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 13, 2023

Depending on where in the world you're located, you might have seen both 'pyjamas' or 'pajamas' in use. But which one is correct? Read on to find out.

In short, 'pajamas' is the American English spelling while 'pyjamas' is the British English spelling.

Difference Between 'Pyjamas' or 'Pajamas'

Both these words are plural nouns of the word 'pyjama' or 'pajama.' They are both correct; the one you decide to use depends on your location.

If you're based in the United States or writing for an American audience, you'll want to use 'pajamas.' If you're based in any other country outside of the U.S. or are writing for any non-British, English-speaking audience, then you should go for 'pyjamas.'

Many other words like this in the English language have different spellings for different English-speaking countries. Here are some of the many that we've covered on our blog:

'Pajamas' Definition

Since we're based in the United States, we'll use the spelling' pajamas' for the rest of the article. But know that both spellings are correct.

So what does it mean?

'Pajamas' are what you wear to sleep in. During the day, you wear regular clothes and come nighttime, you change into your 'pajamas,' also affectionately named 'PJs.'

There are many different kinds of pajamas. Some might opt for a nightgown, while others prefer sweats. Some people like to wear the classic two-piece coordinated pajama set, and others swear by onesies. Whatever your preference, if you sleep in them, they're your pajamas.

While 'pajamas' and 'pyjamas' appear to be in the plural form, the noun is rarely used in the singular form. Even if your pajamas are an individual piece, the -s at the end of the word still applies, just like 'shorts' or 'trousers.'

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Pajamas'

If you're wondering how to pronounce 'pajamas,' I'm not surprised. The word doesn't exactly sound like it's written. Here's how it's pronounced according to the International Phonetics Alphabet:


And it sounds like this:

puh-jah-muh z

How to Use 'Pajamas' in a Sentence

Now that we've got the definition and pronunciation down, let's look at some example sentences with the word 'pajamas,' so you can see how it's used in context.

Make sure to separate our pajamas in the washing machine; they're made of silk, so they must be washed apart from the rest.

I've bought the cutest pajama set for my son.

What's your favorite type of pajamas to sleep in?

I was hoping to find a matching set of pajamas for us, but they were sold out.

Put your pajamas on before you lie in bed; otherwise, you'll fall asleep with your clothes on.

Concluding Thoughts on Using 'Pyjamas' or 'Pajamas'

So there you have it; 'pajamas' or 'pyjamas,' are both correct. It all just depends on your location in the world. If you're ever in doubt, be sure to come back and check. This article will be here to help you!

We've covered lots of other confusing words on our blog. Why not check those out and start improving your English? Click here to head there now.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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