Collectable vs collectible

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CarlosRapido

Senior Member
français - English (Can)
In my early days of English grammar school, I was taught that a collectable was a debt that one could collect on and a collectible was an object worthy of including in a collection. But while researching a translation, I came across this;
collectible or collectable
1. able to be collected, as a debt.
2. suitable for collecting.
which seems to indicate that two terms have converged, making them synonymous. This in AE English anyways as my CAN(BE) English spell-checker still marks the difference.

Is this convergence only in AE, or is it seen in BE also?
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    My Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (British) gives only one spelling, collectable, covering both meanings. My Concise OED, however, says under that headword "also collectible", again covering both meanings. And my American Heritage Dictionary uses collectible (again, both meanings) as the main spelling, with collectable as a variant.

    Bottom line: The spelling has nothing to do with the meaning, and you can spell it any way you like.
     

    malbuff

    New Member
    american english
    My Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (British) gives only one spelling, collectable, covering both meanings. My Concise OED, however, says under that headword "also collectible", again covering both meanings. And my American Heritage Dictionary uses collectible (again, both meanings) as the main spelling, with collectable as a variant.

    Bottom line: The spelling has nothing to do with the meaning, and you can spell it any way you like.
    When I owned a large antique store here in Virginia, of course I saw the word(s), in both variants, all the time in trade rags and the like.

    It was my impression that "collectible" was the noun (e.g., "Sale today on Vintage Collectibles"), while "collectable" was the adjective (e.g., "Gas station giveaways are now reaching collectable status").

    In other words, I had a big store full of collectable collectibles.

    Now it would appear this particular distinction exists, and has existed, in my mind only. Such is life. :)
     
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