In this post, I want to help you in outlining the differences between disc and disk. Just like other confusing words (such as homophones), disc vs. disk is such a case of English vocabulary that is creating a big confusion among writers and speakers. I will try to overcome this problem and help you to get each of these words with proper explanation and example sentences.
Disc vs. Disk – What is the Difference, Definition & Meaning?
Is it disc or disk?
Disk and disc sound exactly same. In fact, both of these words are so closely related to each other that a person faces a lot of confusion in writing whether to choose disc or disk.
However, you have to be careful with word choice as, disc and disk are used to refer to two different things.
I have seen in many contexts that both of these words are used interchangeably to refer to many contexts, such as,
- Other storage devices
- Circular-flat plates or objects
But, you have to be careful in choosing disc or disk for the right audience because it is a matter of American and British English. Most of the linguists believe that the term ‘disk’ is much preferred in American English to refer to a device whereas; in British English ‘disc’ is much preferable.
In technological world, the term ‘disc’ is used for such optical media that are easily removable objects of a computer, for instance, DVD disc, CD-ROM, etc. ‘Disk’, on the other hand, is used for such media devices that are magnetic in nature, for instance, the disk in hard drive. This disk inside it is, actually, sealed.
In British English, disc is the standard spelling to use in writing, but still the term ‘disk’ is used for only computer related terms i.e. floppy disk, hard disk, etc. for example,
- When the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea? O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying Holy… (William Blake)
In American English, generally the term ‘disk’ is very much commonly used spelling to refer to all the thin circular objects or plates (except CDs, disc jockeys, disc brakes, etc.) See the examples below,
- Every evening, I love to watch the moon disk’s reflection in my swimming pool.
- Can you please bring me that disk onto which you have saved my important files?
- I don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster… carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison. (Steve Jobs)
As you can see that the two different spellings, disc and disk, are the cause of the differences in the two variants of English language, American English vs. British English. As an English writer, you have to be careful about your intended audience. The term ‘disk’ is the preferred spelling in American English, whereas ‘disc’ is standard in British English. However, for computer related terms, British English prefers to use ‘disk’ instead of ‘disc.’