H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
in the prospectus of English, a magazine founded to further the romantic and patriotic study of English, and advertize and advertizing are in the first number.25 All the English authorities that I have consulted prefer the -re26 and -our endings; nevertheless the London Nation adopted the -or ending in 1919,27 and George Bernard Shaw had adopted it years before. The British Board of Trade, in attempting to fix the spelling of various scientific terms, has often come to grief. Thus it detaches the final -me from gramme in such compounds as kilogram and milligram, but insists upon gramme when the word stands alone. In American usage gram is now common, and scarcely challenged. A number of spellings, nearly all American, are trembling on the brink of acceptance in both countries. Among them is rime (for rhyme). This spelling was correct in England until about 1530, but its recent revival was of American origin. It is accepted by the Concise Oxford and by the editors of the Cambridge History of English Literature, but not by Cassell. It seldom appears in an English journal. The same may be said of grewsome. It has got a footing in both countries, but the weight of English opinion is still against it. Develop (instead of develope) has gone further in both countries. So has engulf, for engulph.
4. British Spelling in the United States
American imitation of English orthography has two impulses behind it. First, there is the colonial spirit, the desire to pass as Englishin brief, mere affectation. Secondly, there is the wish among printers, chiefly of books, to reach a compromise spelling acceptable in both countries, thus avoiding expensive revisions in
Note 26.Caliber is now the official spelling of the United States Army. Cf. Description and Rules for the Management of the U. S. Rifle, Caliber 30, Model of 1903; Washington, 1915. But calibre is still official in England. [back]