Mustache or Moustache: What’s the Difference?

Human men have hair on their faces. Some men style their facial hair in fashionable ways. Other men grow their hair into long, unruly tangles, which is also sometimes fashionable.

Fortunately, just as there are several styles of facial hair, there are many words to describe facial hair. Hair grown below the chin is a beard. Hair grown on the sides of the face is called sideburns, or colloquially, mutton chops.

Hair grown on the upper lip is called a mustache. This word has two variants with which this article will be concerned. One is moustache. The other is mustachio.

If you are a fashion journalist bent on accurately documenting the facial hair sported by the most stylish men of your generation, you will need know the difference between these words. If you aren’t a fashion journalist, you might still be curious.

Which word most accurately describes the many styles of facial hair grown on the upper lip? Read on to find out.

What is the Difference Between Moustache and Mustache?

How do you spell mustache? In this article, I will compare moustache vs. mustache. I’ll use each in a sentence, and I’ll also give you a helpful trick to remember whether to use moustache or mustache in your writing.

When to Use Moustache

How do you spell moustacheWhat does moustache mean? Moustache is used to describe the hair of the upper lip in British English. It has been the preferred variant since the mid-19th century.

The following sentences are examples of the common usage of moustache,

  • The Prime Minister’s bushy moustache was full of milk and biscuit crumbs.
  • Truman was quite a short man and didn’t take the limelight, but Stalin you couldn’t mistake. He always wore uniform and had an enormous moustache. –The Guardian

When to Use Mustache

Spell moustache definition and spell mustache definitionWhat does mustache mean? Mustache carries the same meaning as moustache. It is primarily used in American English, and has been since at least the mid-20th century.

Here are a few examples,

  • The cowboy’s mustache made all the country girls swoon.
  • The justices recognized that mustaches and beards carried social significance that might undermine the esprit de corps in police departments, corrode discipline in schools, and threaten businesses’ bottom line. –The Wall Street Journal

Mustache and moustache are both general terms, used in a broad sense to describe any hair grown on the upper lip. Their meanings are equivalent, and these words are differentiated only by the language communities in which they are used.

When to Use Mustachio

Mustache versus moustacheWhat does mustachio mean? Mustachio is sometimes used to describe a conspicuously large mustache, or in extreme cases, one side of such a mustache. The word mustachio can easily be perceived as pretentious or unnecessarily ornate, but so can the men who choose to wear such facial hair.

Here are some examples of the word mustachio in a sentence,

  • Lost in thought, the wealthy magnate twirled his mustachios and squinted through his monocle.
  • The bartender wore his mustachio waxed into an effervescent spiral.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Definition of mustacheHow to spell mustache? If you still aren’t sure you can keep track of mustache vs. moustache, here is a helpful trick. Moustache and mustache each describe the hair of a person’s upper lip.

Mustache is commonly used in American English, whereas moustache is the accepted variant in British English. If you can’t choose between mustache or moustache, remember that moustache and London are both spelled with an O. This trick should help you keep these words straight.

You can also use mustachio to describe an especially large mustache. This term can add color to your writing, but mustache or moustache will work just as well.


Is it moustache or mustache? Moustache, mustache, and mustachio all describe hair grown on the upper lip. Mustache describes a mustache in communities where American English is spoken. Moustache is used in British English communities. Mustachio can optionally be used to describe an unusually large mustache or moustache.

You can remember to use moustache in British English by keeping in mind that moustache and London are both spelled with an O. Otherwise, this article can serve as a helpful reminder if you are having trouble choosing moustache, mustache, or mustachio.

To summarize,

  • Moustache is the British English spelling of the word.
  • Mustache in the American English spelling of the word.