Australian spelling closely resembles British spelling. Australia’s ongoing cordial relationship with Great Britain may have led to the preference for British spellings. The United States, after its revolution, likely wanted to differentiate itself from the mother country.
Noah Webster led the effort in changing how Americans spelled words. He began to codify rules for spelling in the late 1700s and early 1800s. He tried where possible to simplify; the ending “-or” is simpler than “-our” because it removes the silent “u.” His “-or” ending also helps to differentiate words with “our” that were pronounced differently, such as “hour.” The “-or” ending for a word like “candor” rather than “candour” indicated that readers shouldn’t pronounce it as “can-dower.”
Beyond creating the first American dictionary, Noah Webster wrote textbooks that teachers used to teach spelling for the next century.
Here are some other “-or” words that are spelled differently in Australia:
- Labour (except for the Australian Labor Party)