Difference Wiki

Synthesize vs. Synthesise: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Updated on November 13, 2023
"Synthesize" and "synthesise" are the same in meaning, referring to the process of combining parts to form a whole, differing only in regional spelling: "synthesize" is American English, while "synthesise" is British English.

Key Differences

"Synthesize" is the American English spelling used to describe the process of combining different elements to create something new. "Synthesise" is the British English variant of the same word, carrying the same meaning and usage.
Both "synthesize" and "synthesise" can be used in various contexts, such as chemistry, music, and intellectual discourse, to indicate the creation or formation of something by combining separate elements. The choice between the two spellings depends on the regional language preference.
In scientific contexts, such as in chemistry, "synthesize" (or "synthesise") refers to the process of creating compounds by chemical reactions. Both spellings are correct and interchangeable, depending on the regional English being used.
In literature or argumentation, to "synthesize" (or "synthesise") means to integrate ideas or data into a coherent whole. This usage is consistent in both American and British English, with only the spelling differing.
"Synthesize" and "synthesise" are perfect examples of how English language adapts to different cultural and regional variations, demonstrating the fluidity and adaptability of language.

Comparison Chart


American English
British English


Combining elements to form a whole
Combining elements to form a whole


Same in various contexts
Same in various contexts



Regional Preference

Used in the United States
Used in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries

Synthesize and Synthesise Definitions


In music, to produce sound electronically.
The artist used a synthesizer to synthesize unique sounds.


In electronic music, to generate sounds using a synthesizer.
She used her keyboard to synthesise a range of musical notes.


To integrate different ideas in writing or speech.
Her essay synthesizes theories from different fields.


In science, to create a substance through chemical reaction.
The chemist was able to synthesise a new medication.


In chemistry, to produce a compound by a chemical reaction.
The lab successfully synthesized a new form of plastic.


To combine various elements to create something new.
The author aimed to synthesise concepts from different philosophies.


To combine parts into a coherent whole.
The study aims to synthesize the findings from various experiments.


To amalgamate diverse ideas in an argument or discussion.
His thesis synthesises old and new theories.


To form by combining elements logically.
The theory synthesizes historical data with current trends.


To logically construct a theory or idea from various sources.
The researcher synthesised the data into a compelling argument.


To combine so as to form a new, complex product
"His works synthesize photography, painting and linguistic devices" (Paul Taylor).


Standard spelling of synthesize


To form or produce by chemical synthesis.


Combine so as to form a more complex, product;
His operas synthesize music and drama in perfect harmony


To produce (sound or music) by means of a synthesizer.


To form a synthesis.


(transitive) To combine two or more things to produce a new product.


To be combined producing a new, more complex product.


To produce a substance by chemical synthesis.


To be produced by chemical synthesis.


To combine by synthesis; to unite.


To produce by synthesis; as, to synthesize albumin.


Combine so as to form a more complex, product;
His operas synthesize music and drama in perfect harmony


Combine and form a synthesis


Do synthesize and synthesise have different meanings in different contexts?

No, their meanings remain consistent across contexts, only the spelling changes.

Is the pronunciation of synthesize and synthesise different?

No, they are pronounced the same way.

Which spelling should I use in academic writing?

Use the spelling consistent with the variety of English you are writing in (American or British).

Are synthesize and synthesise the same?

Yes, they have the same meaning but different regional spellings.

Can I use synthesize in British English?

It's more common to use "synthesise" in British English.

Will British readers understand synthesize?

Yes, British readers will understand it as it's a common variance in spelling.

Is synthesize used in American scientific publications?

Yes, "synthesize" is the preferred spelling in American scientific literature.

Can synthesise be used in American English?

It can be used, but "synthesize" is the standard American spelling.

Are there any differences in usage between the two words?

No, their usage is identical; the difference is purely in spelling.

Is synthesize commonly used in American textbooks?

Yes, "synthesize" is commonly used in American educational materials.

Does the spelling change the word's meaning in any context?

No, the meaning of synthesize and synthesise remains the same regardless of the spelling.

Should I change synthesise to synthesize for an American audience?

Yes, adapting spelling to your audience's version of English is often recommended.

Can non-native speakers use either spelling?

Non-native speakers should use the spelling consistent with the variety of English they are learning or using.

Is synthesize used in official documents in the U.S.?

Yes, "synthesize" is the preferred spelling in official American documents.

Is it wrong to use synthesise in an American publication?

It's not wrong, but it's less standard than "synthesize" in American English.

Are there any variations in the definition of synthesize/synthesise?

No, the definitions are consistent; only the spelling differs based on regional use.

Is there a preferred spelling in international publications?

International publications often choose one version of English and stick to its spelling conventions.

Are there any synonyms for synthesize/synthesise?

Terms like "combine," "integrate," or "amalgamate" can be similar in meaning.

Can I use both spellings interchangeably in a document?

It's best to stick to one spelling for consistency within a single document.

Should I change my spelling of synthesize/synthesise based on my audience?

Yes, adapting your spelling to your audience's regional English is a good practice.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons