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Tired of choosing

As someone born and raised in England, people ask why I chose to name my business using the North American spelling of the word ‘tire’. I might even have directed you to this article after you asked.

Let me answer this question; “Shouldn’t it have been Tyres and Terrain?”

Yes and no.

‘Tyres’ would have been “correct” in the United Kingdom, but there are several reasons why I chose to spell it ‘TIRES’.

  • First of all, I currently live in Canada where it is registered as a Canadian business.
  • ‘TIRES’ looks better.
  • My primary and target audience is North America.

But there is more to the spelling differences other than my reasons above. I’ll keep it short and simple.

We know the word tire as a common term for the rubber ring that surrounds a wheel and helps it roll smoothly on the ground. But where did this word come from and how did it evolve over time?

Porsche 911 GT3 992 Wheel Centre Lock Carbon Ceramic Brakes
© Simon Cousins

TIRE – North American spelling

Tire is actually a shortened form of the word ‘attire’, which means “equipment, dress, covering”. The idea is that a wheel with a tire is a dressed wheel or a wheel that has a covering or a decoration. This dates back to the late 15th century when it was used to refer to the iron plates that formed the rim of a carriage wheel. These iron plates were also called tires, and they were used to hold the wheel together under load and to prevent wear and tear.

TYRE – British spelling

The spelling of tyre is a later variation that emerged in the 19th century in Britain when the English began shrink-fitting railway car wheels with malleable iron. However, the spelling tire remained more common in North America, and it was also used for the new invention of pneumatic tires, which are tires that are filled with air and provide a flexible cushion that absorbs shock. Pneumatic tires were first developed for bicycles in the late 19th century, and later for automobiles and other vehicles.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Red Modified Vancouver
© Simon Cousins

My application

Good visuals for TIRES + TERRAIN are essential to me. It’s what makes it stand out from the rest. It’s the small details that make it feel that bit better. As such, the branding and the name are included. ‘Tires’ simply fits better when designing a logo or even writing it.

Regardless of the spelling, I did purchase both domain names, so it doesn’t make a difference which way you spell it when you type it into your web browser.

As I live in Vancouver, Canada, it made sense to use the North American spelling, catering to the primary audience.

To conclude

The word tire has a long history, and it has different meanings and spellings depending on the context. It can be used as a noun to refer to the covering of a wheel or as a verb to refer to the state of being or making weary. After learning it was a shortened version of attire, it makes much more sense that tire would be used, so that’s what I went for. The English language is super weird.

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