When you’re getting ready for bed, do you put on your pyjamas or your pajamas? The answer may depend on whether you’re in Australia or the USA! Find out how to use these spellings correctly with our guide below.
What Are Pyjamas?
‘Pyjamas’ 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 pyjamas.
He changed into his pyjamas 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 Australian English via Europeans adopting the term (and the style of clothing) during British colonial rule of India.
These days, though, ‘pyjamas’ is such a common word in English that it is often shortened to informal abbreviations like ‘jammies’, ‘jim-jams’ or ‘PJs’!
Pyjamas or Pajamas?
You’ll have noticed that, so far, we’ve only used the spelling ‘pyjamas’.
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That’s because we’re using Australian English in this blog post, and ‘pyjamas’ is the correct spelling in Australia. It’s also the standard spelling in most other English-speaking countries, including the UK. ‘Pajamas’ (with a second ‘a’), on the other hand, is the American English spelling:
Australian English:I need to buy new pyjamas!
US English:I need to buy new pajamas!
As such, you’ll only need the ‘a’ spelling for people in 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 Australian and American English tricky, don’t forget to have your writing proofread! We can make sure documents match the dialect you’re using, helping you to communicate clearly.