When you’re getting ready for bed, do you put on your pajamas or your pyjamas? The answer may depend on whether you’re in the USA or UK! Find out how to use these spellings correctly with our simple guide below.
What Are Pajamas?
“Pajamas” are a type of clothing worn for sleeping or relaxing at home:
I had such a lazy day yesterday; I didn’t even change out of my pajamas.
He changed into his pajamas and slipped under the covers.
The word comes from the Hindustani term pyjāmā, which referred to a type of loose, lightweight trousers with a drawstring waistband. It then found its way into English thanks to Europeans adopting the term (and the style of clothing) during British colonial rule of India.
These days, though, “pajamas” is such a common word in English that it is often shortened to informal abbreviations like “jammies,” “jim-jams,” or “PJs”!
Pajamas or Pyjamas?
You’ll have noticed that, so far, we’ve only used the spelling “pajamas.”
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That’s because we’re using American English in this blog post, and “pajamas” is the correct spelling in the USA. “Pyjamas” (with a “y”), on the other hand, is the British English spelling, as well as being the standard spelling in most other English-speaking countries, such as Australia:
US English:I need to buy new pajamas!
UK/Australian English:I need to buy new pyjamas!
As such, you’ll only need the “y” spelling for people outside the USA. If you struggle with these spellings, though, just imagine that the second “a” in “pajamas” stands for America and you’ll know which one to use!
If you find the differences between American and British English tricky, don’t forget to have your writing proofread! We can make sure documents are error free for the dialect you’re using, helping you to communicate clearly.