programmer vs programer

  • pinkfish80

    english- french- arabic
    I do agree with KON, the only difference is which language you are using. Double "m" for British English, and one "m" for American one


    Senior Member
    Australia English
    programmer vs programer

    Which is correct? Both of them?

    Merriam-Wester [the major AE dictionary] lists programmer first, and allows programer as a variant.

    Personally, I think programer is a stupid spelling, as you would expect to pronounce the a long. Such as spelling does not fit the usual pattern.

    Think of ram, rammer; slam, slammer; - short vowels.

    Then think of tame, tamer - long vowel.


    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    In my, perhaps limited, experience, the word programmer is always spelled with a double M. The word program changes between AE (program) and BE (programme), but not the word programmer.

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    In my, perhaps limited, experience, the word programmer is always spelled with a double M. The word program changes between AE (program) and BE (programme), but not the word programmer.
    Yet, I see that M-W gives programer as a possiblity -
    which makes sense in so far as we seem to accept both programmed and programed as the past participle of the verb to program. I agree that programmer is the more common form.
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    Senior Member
    As a programmer myself, I would certainly wonder about anyone who spelled it "programer." I am surprised to hear that it's in the dictionary. Every job title, job description, business card and manual that I can remember spelled it "programmer." If it is a varant in AE, I doubt that it's a widespread variant. It looks as odd to me as "he pounds nails with a hamer."
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    Grumpy Old Man

    Senior Member
    Programmer looks better but the reason programer is included in dictionaries is that it is more in keeping with English spelling practices - even though everybody on this forum appears to dislike it!

    The verb [to] program consists of two syllables, with the stress on the first one. In the second syllable there is a short vowel (a) between consonants (r, m). In such words, the last consonant is normally not doubled: targeted, targeting. But, if the stress is on the second syllable, doubling occurs: forgetting.

    Sometimes one has a choice: focused / focussed. The British seem to have a penchant for double consonants; they double the l even when the stress is on the first syllable: travelled, travelling, traveller.

    To sum it up: programmer is the more common of the two - but it also conflicts with conventional spelling rules.


    Senior Member
    The stress on "programmer", in AE at least, is not exclusively on the first syllable. "Programmer" is not said with the same pattern of stresses as "polymer" or "targeted", for example. "gram" gets some sort of secondary stress that is shorter than the first syllable but longer than the final syllable. It has a pattern of stresses similar to the word "transporter" in Star Trek.
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    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    From my experience it's always double <m> whether British or American. The general rule about gemination (ie doubling) is that it's only required if the syllable before -ing
    • has a short vowel;
    • does not already end with more than a consonant letter; and
    • is stressed.

    (British English makes an exception with <l> which is almost always geminated.)

    The problem with program is that although the main stress is on the first syllable, the vowel of the second syllable is not neutralised, so that it feels as if there is a secondary stress there. So the tendency is to geminate. The other prominent example is kidnap, although in this case American English uses both kidnapper, kidnapped, kidnapping as well as kidnaper, kidnaped, kidnaping. But even here, I think the geminated version is more common. In British English, only the geminated version is possible.


    Senior Member
    English-Ireland (top end)
    From the OED (chiefly U.S., rare).
    That just about sums it up.
    So rare that in decades of working with US IT organisations I have never seen programer.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    The traditional British spelling is programme rather than program, which obviously gives programming and programmer rather than programing and programer.

    However, there is a tradition in British spelling now under which we have adopted the American spelling for some words as they relates to the IT industry only. So now in Britain we have the following spelling pairs:
    - computer program but television programme / redevelopment programme
    - floppy disk but slipped disc / disc as a geometrical shape.

    As has been explained above, for reasons that may be illogical Americans tend to write program but not programing or programer. It looks like we have not therefore been tempted to adopt programer or programing as the British spelling for a programmer and for programming in the IT industry. No TV programmer / computer programer pair has developed.
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