Wikipedia:WikiProject Middle Ages/British spelling of Medieval

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This page is a central place to discuss the British spelling of Medieval in Wikipedia articles.


User:El_T wrote the following at Talk:Britain in the Middle Ages

"Mediaeval" [is] used as being more British than medieval. Whilst it is true that mediaeval is relatively more common in the UK than the US, it is still far less common than medieval in both countries. Furthermore, a great many formal British institutions - The Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds for example - use the simpler, more modern spelling of medieval.

In other words, medieval is:

  • Significantly more common than mediaeval in the UK (factor of 10); and
  • Fully acceptable in formal and scientific language.

(Incidentally, the use of mediæval - with the a/e ligature - really isn't acceptable in modern English.)


  • The preferred form in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is medieval. At the entry for "Mediaeval", the dictionary states "see Medieval" (6th edition) There seems no grounds for suggesting therefore that the preferred British or Commonwealth English form would include the letter A.--A Y Arktos (Talk) 05:53, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Given the above I think it's appropriate to change all instances of mediaeval/mediæval to medieval (except any instances where it's a discussion of the spelling, of course). El T 00:16, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Although this is a dead issue, out of idle curiosity I just checked Google and found that British sites (those ending .uk) use mediaeval slightly less than the overall sample.
  • 3.96% of the overall (5,480,000 of 138,480,000) use mediaeval.
  • 3.30% of the dot UK sites (434,000 of 13,134,000) use mediaeval
Enough trivia --SteveMcCluskey 21:54, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Possibly, but here's another trivium: nobody includes the letter A, only the diphthong æ. Scolaire (talk) 00:00, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, no. æ (more properly called ligature) is obsolete or obsolescent, the digraph ae (which really is composed of a + e) is not. I'm Jack(Lumber) and I approve this message. 23:05, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Do make sure, though, that in a quotation, the spelling is that of the person being quoted. Likewise in a book title. I know that's obvious, but BOTs don't always think of it. --Doric Loon (talk) 18:42, 9 January 2008 (UTC)