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Odometre vs. Odometer: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 28, 2024
Odometre and odometer refer to the same device that measures the distance traveled by a vehicle, but "odometre" is the British English spelling, while "odometer" is the American English spelling.

Key Differences

Odometre is the British English spelling of the instrument used to measure the distance traveled by a vehicle. It reflects the British convention of using "re" at the end of certain words, similar to "metre" for measuring length. Odometer, on the other hand, is the American English spelling of the same device. American English typically simplifies such words by using "er" instead of "re," aligning with the broader tendency to streamline spelling.
Both terms refer to the same function and device, and their usage depends primarily on regional spelling conventions. While odometre is commonly seen in British publications and manuals, odometer is the standard in American contexts.
In technical and automotive contexts, both terms are used to ensure the vehicle's mileage is accurately recorded. This measurement is crucial for maintenance schedules, resale value, and fuel efficiency calculations.

Comparison Chart

Spelling Convention

British English
American English

Usage Region

UK and other Commonwealth countries
USA and countries using American English

End Spelling

Ends in "re"
Ends in "er"

Common Contexts

British automotive manuals, publications
American automotive manuals, publications


Measures vehicle distance traveled
Measures vehicle distance traveled

Odometre and Odometer Definitions


Distance tracker in UK cars.
The odometre reading is crucial for vehicle servicing in the UK.


American English spelling for a distance-measuring device in vehicles.
The odometer indicated the car had driven 15,000 miles.


Part of the vehicle's dashboard.
The odometre is located next to the speedometer in most cars.


Instrument in American vehicles.
The technician checked the odometer for accurate mileage.


British English spelling for a distance-measuring device in vehicles.
The odometre showed the car had traveled 15,000 miles.


Distance tracker in US cars.
The odometer reading is essential for vehicle maintenance in the US.


Instrument in British vehicles.
The mechanic checked the odometre for accurate mileage.


Part of the vehicle's dashboard.
The odometer is found next to the speedometer in most vehicles.


Used for tracking mileage in British manuals.
The owner's manual referred to the odometre settings.


Used for tracking mileage in American manuals.
The user manual mentioned the odometer settings.


Alternative form of odometer


An instrument that indicates distance traveled by a vehicle.


An instrument, usually embedded within the speedometer of a vehicle, that measures the distance the vehicle has traveled since production.


A wheel used by surveyors, which registers distance traveled.


An instrument attached to a vehicle or connected, as by a flexible cable, to the wheel of a vehicle, which measures the distance traversed.


A hodometer.


A meter that shows mileage traversed


Is there any functional difference between an odometre and an odometer?

No, there is no functional difference; only the spelling varies.

What is an odometer?

An odometer is the American English term for the same device that measures the distance traveled by a vehicle.

Why do British English and American English have different spellings for the same word?

British English often retains the original "re" ending, while American English simplifies it to "er."

Where is "odometre" commonly used?

"Odometre" is commonly used in the UK and other countries following British English conventions.

What is an odometre?

An odometre is the British English term for a device that measures the distance traveled by a vehicle.

Do other English-speaking countries use "odometre"?

Some Commonwealth countries might use "odometre," aligning with British English.

Are odometre and odometer the same thing?

Yes, they refer to the same instrument but differ in spelling based on regional conventions.

Can I use "odometer" in the UK?

While understood, it is less common; "odometre" is the preferred spelling in the UK.

Do other English-speaking countries use "odometer"?

Countries influenced by American English typically use "odometer."

Is the spelling difference only for odometer/odometre?

No, many other words differ similarly, like "meter/metre" and "center/centre."

Can I use "odometre" in the US?

It is less common and might be considered incorrect; "odometer" is preferred in the US.

Is "odometre" used in official British documents?

Yes, "odometre" is used in official British documents and publications.

Where is "odometer" commonly used?

"Odometer" is used in the USA and countries following American English conventions.

How does an odometer work?

An odometer also works by counting wheel rotations and converting them into distance traveled.

Do bicycles have odometres/odometers?

Yes, many bicycles are equipped with odometres/odometers to track distance traveled.

Is "odometer" used in official American documents?

Yes, "odometer" is used in official American documents and publications.

Is it important to use the correct regional spelling?

Yes, using the correct spelling for the region ensures clear communication and adherence to local conventions.

How does an odometre work?

An odometre works by counting the rotations of the vehicle's wheels and converting them into distance traveled.

Can the odometre/odometer be reset?

Most odometres/odometers cannot be reset to prevent fraud; however, trip meters can be reset for measuring specific journeys.

Are there electronic versions of odometres/odometers?

Yes, modern vehicles often use digital odometres/odometers.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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