Neighbor or neighbour?

By Strategically AI. Reviewed by Rebecca Hey.
Updated August 4, 2022
4 minute read
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What Is the definition of neighbour/neighbor?

Even though neighbour and neighbor are spelt differently, they both have the same meaning. It's defined as a person who lives nearby, adjacent to you, or next door even. So people who live on the same street as you would be your neighbours. Someone who lives next door would be a next-door neighbor (or next-door neighbour). 

However, distance isn't necessary when describing neighbours. If you live in a city you'll have many neighbours, some living above you or below you, and in the same building. Whereas, if you live in a more rural setting, your closest neighbours could be miles away. 

There's another definition used as a verb for referring to something situated next to or close by something. For example, the park neighbors the school. 

The plural, neighbors, refers to multiple people living near you at once—for example, the neighbors down the street. 

Which Is the correct version?

Well, both are. They are the exact same word, and they share the same definition. The only difference is that they have different spelling. It's just a difference between American and British English. Deciding the correct spelling depends on your geographical location, as different versions are valid for other parts of the world.  

  • American English: Neighbor.
  • British English: Neighbour.

As English speaking countries have evolved through time, even though they share the same language, there have been some variations in spelling and pronunciation. 

What version to use in American or British English?

In British English and the Oxford English Dictionary, the word neighbour is the correct spelling. They use the form neighbour in the American dictionary and American spelling. In America, it's common to drop silent and unnecessary u's from words, so many common words featuring the ou are replaced with just an o instead. We see this with flavor, color, favor, and of course, neighbor. 

There are spelling differences because Britain has adopted many words from France, Germany, and Spain, as European languages all influenced each other. When adopting words, they often keep the spelling of the original word or draw inspiration from it. 

Meanwhile, in other English speaking countries like America, the language has evolved from the original settlers. American English has been affected by the different immigration waves of many different cultures to the United States. It's more traditional for them to spell a word as it's said and remove unnecessary letters. 

Is neighbour/neighbor a proper noun?

The world neighbor or neighbour can be used as a noun or a verb. It's not a proper noun, though. Proper nouns are always capitalized, but not all capitalized words equal a proper noun. Neighbor or neighbour would be capitalized at the beginning of a sentence because that is grammatically correct. But that doesn't make it a proper noun.

Examples of neighbor or neighbour in a sentence:

We've put together some examples of using neighbor and neighbour as both a noun and a verb in a sentence. This will allow you to see how it's used in the English language.


  • My next-door neighbor gave me a pie. 
  • The neighbors hosted a party last week. 
  • Several neighbors have been upset with the construction works. 
  • One neighbor would be okay, but I don't want two neighbors next door.
  • My next-door neighbour has just moved in. 
  • Your neighbour dropped this off for you. 
  • We left it with a neighbour. 


  • The school in the neighboring county is on holiday this week. 
  • My house neighbours a lovely wooded area. 

As you can see, the spelling doesn't change the sentence's meaning. Even though the words neighbor and neighbour have a spelling difference, they share the same definition. 

Wrapping up

In this article, we've discussed the appropriate form of neighbor to use, depending on where you are. We've cleared up the confusion around which word is correct to use and where. As discussed, it's a case of American or British English. Neighbor is appropriate for American English, and neighbour is suitable for British English. 

Even though the word is capitalized sometimes, that doesn't make it a proper noun, although it sometimes gets used as a verb. We've also demonstrated how to use both spellings in a sentence appropriately, so you understand that even though they have a spelling difference, they are the same words.

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Rebecca Hey
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