‘Tire’ and ‘tyre’

In British English, these are the spellings for two words with different meanings.


  • to reduce the energy of (usually by exertion); to feel or cause to feel in need of sleep/rest
  • to become bored with or lose interest in something; to exhaust the patience of.


  • a ring of rubber fitted round the rim of a wheel of a road vehicle to form a soft contact with the road
  • a band of metal fitted round the rim of a wheel (typically of a railway vehicle).

In American English, tire is the standard spelling for both meanings. Tyre is actually thought to be a variant of the old form tire (a shortening of attire because the tyre was seen as the ‘clothing’ of the wheel).

Thank you to Aeryn Rudel for suggesting this post.


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