Regime vs. Regimen – What’s the Difference?

Every writer makes mistakes. English, like any language, has many words that are so similar that they can be confusing; we can all remember a time when we chose one word when we actually meant another, and were embarrassed.

Some words only differ by one letter. Add an -n to regime, for instance, to form regimen, a completely different word. Add a -t to the end of that word, and you end up with regiment. These three words appear very similar, but none of them is used in the same context.

To avoid making these similarities the basis for your next embarrassing mistake, you will need to know the difference between these words. What do regime, regimen, and regiment actually mean? Continue reading to find out.

What is the Difference Between Regime and Regimen?

In this post, I will compare regime vs. regimen. I will use each word in an example sentence to illustrate its proper context and meaning.

Plus, I will give you a helpful memory tool to use when you are deciding whether regime or regimen is the word you really mean.

When to Use Regime

regime versus regimen What does regime mean? A regime is a governing body or an administration, especially one perceived as nefariously concerned only with maintaining its own power.

You can see examples in the following sentences,

  • Unbeknownst to the populace, the losing candidate would play a major role in the new regime.
  • A small group of bandoleros rode down from the sierras and toppled the old regime.
  • Sophisticated digital warfare techniques ensured that the regime change was swift, bloodless, and undetectable.
  • To run that experiment, first, take two authoritarian regimes based in Moscow, one rooted in state-run socialism, the other in crony capitalism. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Regimen

Definition of regimen definition and definition of regime definition What does regimen mean? A regimen is a schedule or plan of treatments.

Here are some examples,

  • When Julianna hired a personal trainer, she expected a strict regimen of exercise and fitness training, not daily meditation.
  • My exercise regimen includes jogging and sit-ups, but no push-ups, because I have no arms.
  • Mallory’s treatment regimen included mindfulness training and a gradual weaning off of her medications.
  • Since then, other researchers have found that people can have extremely erratic reactions to weight training regimens, with some packing on power and mass and others losing both. –The New York Times

Regimen should not be confused with regiment, which is a noun that refers to a military unit.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define regimen and define regime Even though regimen and regime are both nouns, they are not interchangeable in any context.

  • Regime refers to a government, especially an authoritarian one.
  • Regimen is a set course of trainings or treatments.

Since regime rhymes with supreme, you can use the rhyming phrase supreme regime as a reminder that a regime is a governing body, and such bodies typically hold supreme power, often tyrannical power, over the citizens of a nation.

Summary

Is it regime or regimen? Regime and regimen are both nouns.

  • Regime refers to a governing body.
  • Regimen refers to a schedule of treatments.
  • A third word, regiment, refers to a military unit comprised of several battalions.

None of these words can be substituted for any of the others.

If you can remember the phrase supreme regime, you can easily remember that a regime is usually used in connection with a government which wields supreme power.

To summarize, a regime is a form of government. A regimen is a schedule of treatment.