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Word comparisons

Note 315 – The difference between disc and disk

English: The magnetic disc from inside a 3.5&q...

Image via Wikipedia (Author: Peter Astbury)

I’ve often wondered why compact disc has a ‘c’, but then other disks have a ‘k’ in British English. Wikipedia have a section on spelling of disc and explain that although they both relate to things of a thin circular nature, there is a difference which relates to the origin of the words.

The spelling disk appears to have come first and has been around since the 17th century. Wikipedia explain that the word disc was introduced to the English Language around the 18th century; this was around the time that the root/origin of words started to be looked into. The Latin word that I’m refering to is discus.

In the 19th century words such as ‘disk jockey’ and disks such as ‘audio recordings made on a flat plate’ came about.

An article on support site say that the main difference is that “a disc refers to optical media” e.g. audio CD disc, DVD-Rom etc. These are removable from your computer. On the other hand “a disk refers to magnetic media” e.g. a floppy disk, hard drive in the computer etc. These are sealed in a casing made of metal or plastic.

Is there a difference between British and American English?

The answer is yes – around the 20th century, Wikipedia explain that “the k-spelling was more popular in America, while the c-spelling was preferred in the UK”.

My thoughts: I quite like the’s simple and clear explanation (as mentioned above), so will probably go with that if I ever use the words.

That’s all for today

Until tomorrow…



About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


2 thoughts on “Note 315 – The difference between disc and disk

  1. A wealth of information as usual hon πŸ™‚


    Posted by Vikki (The View Outside) | March 11, 2012, 7:14 am

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