Is there an official UK law that gives the spelling of each word?

For example, in the Netherlands, there is a spelling law (Spellingswet), and they also publish the Green Booklet to make it accessible to the people.

I wonder if there is a similar thing for British English.

1 Answer 1


No. English is not government-regulated. That's why the Oxford English Dictionary (arguably the most authoritative dictionary out there) uses different spellings than most of the UK does.

  • I see. Is there a section in the law of the united kingdom that says that English is not government-regulated? Or is it just based on 'it is not there'?
    – wythagoras
    Sep 1, 2015 at 18:48
  • 4
    @wythagoras: It's just not there.
    – feetwet
    Sep 1, 2015 at 19:27
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    In fact, there's no UK law that even says English is the official language of the UK.... some of our laws are based very literally on the fact that "It just is" (see: de facto)
    – Jon Story
    Sep 2, 2015 at 12:40
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    I use the Oxford English Dictionary on a daily basis, and it is utter nonsense to say that it uses different spellings to most of the UK. It is undoubtedly the most authoritative reference, in existence, on the English language as it is spoken worldwide. But it maintains corpuses from all manner of varieties of spoken and written English. It provides spelling variants and will tell you when something is American, Indian, Australasian, South African etc. If you are interested in learning more about this I suggest the Stack Exchange, English Language and Users site.
    – WS2
    Sep 24, 2015 at 19:27
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    @cpast According to [tinyurl.com/jg69j42](Google NGram viewer), the ize suffix was almost twice as common in British English until at least 2008.
    – Dan
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:39

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