Neighbours or Neighbors – What’s the Difference?

Some people like those who live in the other homes near them. Other people don’t like these people at all.

The words for people who live near you are neighbors and neighbours. A next-door neighbor is someone who lives in the home adjacent to yours. Other neighbors (or neighbours) can live a few houses down or even a street or two away.

What’s the difference between neighbors and neighbours? Are these words interchangeable, or do they mean different things?

Continue reading to learn more.

What is the Difference Between Neighbours and Neighbors?

In this post, I will compare neighbours vs. neighbors. I will use each variant in some example sentences, to give you an idea how they appear in context.

Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that makes it easier to choose either neighbours or neighbors.

When to Use Neighbors

define neighbour define neighbor spellingWhat does neighbors mean? Neighbors is a plural noun. Its singular version is neighbor, which means a person who lives nearby.

If you live in a rural area, your neighbors might not actually live close by at all. On the other hand, if you live in the city, you might have several neighbors right next to you on all sides.

Here are a few examples.

  • Mary and Phillip brought over a pie and some vegetables from the garden as a housewarming gift for their new neighbors.
  • “The neighbors are complaining about the dog barking again,” said Kenneth.

As a simple plural, neighbors does not need an apostrophe. The singular possessive neighbor’s indicates that something belongs to one neighbor, while the plural neighbors’ indicates that something belongs to several neighbors.

A neighborhood is an area where neighbors live. Neighborhoods might have official boundaries, like in many cities. They are sometimes more loosely defined by the people who live in them to include a few nearby houses or blocks where neighbors easily recognize each other.

When to Use Neighbours

neighbours versus neighbors Neighbours is an alternate spelling of neighbors. Where neighbors is the preferred spelling in American English, neighbours is the standard in British English.

The charts below evidence the preferences for each term in its respective language community.

American English:

neighbour or neighbor

British English:

neighbor or neighbor

These charts illustrate a long-term trend, graphing neighbors vs. neighbours across English books since the year 1800. Since they only look at books, however, they aren’t 100 percent exhaustive in their scope.

Neighbors or Neighbours? When to Use Each

These words are equivalent in meaning and usage but are standard in different language communities.

  • Neighbors is the preferred spelling in American English.
  • Neighbours is standard in British English.

Since neighbours has an extra U, like United Kingdom, I predict that you will have little trouble remembering that neighbours is the British variant.

Summary

Is it neighbors or neighbours? Neighbors and neighbours are alternate spellings of a plural noun that means people who live nearby. There is no difference in their usage or meaning,

  • Neighbors is standard in American English.
  • Neighbours is standard in British English.

Which you use depends on where you live in the world.