I edited this question; Should we rewrite the lightsabre colour question? to reflect what I felt was the accepted spelling of the word "lightsaber" (with an er), only to have my edits rolled back with the comment;

Using American spelling? I'm disappointed in you :-)

I appreciate that it's a long-established principle that we don't correct US/UK spellings but I'm reasonably certain that this doesn't apply in this case.

  • Is there a 'correct' spelling of this word?

  • Are variant spellings simply interchangeable?

  • That depends on if there's an actual correct way to spell it, which is more of a main site question. Otherwise, it's what the OP uses, except for tags, which are supposed to be American English.
    – Mithical
    Jul 15 '17 at 19:20
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    @Mithrandir - That seems to be what Randal'Thor is saying. My suspicion is that there's actually a correct way to spell "lightsaber" and that the terms aren't interchangeable.
    – Valorum
    Jul 15 '17 at 19:22
  • So sure, go ahead and post a main site question ;)
    – Mithical
    Jul 15 '17 at 19:33
  • Lightsabre sound weird and I always imagined as lightsaber. Jul 17 '17 at 6:42
  • Are you Australian? (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!)
    – Mr Pie
    Jun 20 '18 at 4:42

TL;DR, it's Lightsaber not Lightsabre.

Usage in canon

Outside of a couple of typographical errors in the Phantom Menace script, the sole usage is lightsaber in every single canon article on the databank, every single canon novel and every single factbook. It's also used exclusively as lightsaber in every single EU novel, gamebook and script book.

So where can we find the term lightsabre?

StarWars.com highlights a couple of instances where the term lightsabre has been used in various (now) non-canon sources, including a glossary in the Star Wars Official Collector’s Edition (1977) published by Marvel. The writer of the article notes that it's been spelled incorrectly, along with other canon changes.

Back then we wrote “Artoo Detoo” and “See Threepio” instead of R2-D2 and C-3PO, Ben Kenobi used a “lightsabre,” not a lightsaber, and Kenobi, Obi-Wan was the one-time leader of the Jedi Knights. Certainly a lot has changed, but there was a special kind of magic to the galaxy when the only story we had was the original Star Wars.

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What Trademarks does LucasFilm own?

LucasFilm own and closely guard the term lightsaber, entering into trademark disputes with no less than a dozen companies that have dared to use the word in their branding. By comparison, there's a sole entry in the US and EU trademark database for lightsabre held by a company called Powerbox AG. Lucasfilm haven't disputed the use of lightsabre.

In short, Lucasfilm and Disney have never knowingly used the term lightsabre. The sole usage comes from a few minor instances in articles and magazines from non-canon sources such as licensed works, fan magazines and Marvel magazines.

These terms are not interchangeable and we should correct this common misspelling wherever we see it.

  • 3
    It's almost not worth mentioning that the LA Time Star Wars Style Guide explicitly spells it lightsaber, as does the Star Wars Stylebook.
    – Valorum
    Jul 15 '17 at 22:30
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    I don't understand the downvotes on this one. It is well reasoned and referenced, and leaves no room for doubt. How can anyone disagree with this?
    – Andres F.
    Jul 16 '17 at 16:07
  • @AndresF. - I suspect that Rand downvoted it.
    – Valorum
    Jul 16 '17 at 16:22
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    @AndresF. Because SW canon isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to the English language. "Lightsabre" is clearly a word in British English - it's in the OED, for goodness sake! - and as a speaker of British English, I'm going to continue using it.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 16 '17 at 16:49
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    @Randal'Thor - And I will correct it. And then shriek about mod abuse for you rolling it back :-)
    – Valorum
    Jul 16 '17 at 17:07
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    At least some versions of the first novel had "light sabre" on the back. See my comment here.
    – Mr Lister
    Jul 17 '17 at 6:32
  • @MrLister - That's very interesting. I'll add that
    – Valorum
    Jul 17 '17 at 11:35
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    @Randal'Thor Conversely, the OED and other dictionaries are not authoritative when it comes to fictional terminology. As anyone who would use the OED to correct Tolkien's elven to elfin or dwarves to dwarfs would know to their cost. Are the lightsabers in Star Wars really just the same as in dictionaries? Are the Sers in A Song of Fire and Ice just the same as the Sirs in English dictionaries so you'd replace, say, Ser Ilyn Payne with Sir Ilyn Payne? It's a very blurry line. Jul 24 '17 at 14:56

Either / both.

As is standard across Stack Exchange, both British and American English spellings are acceptable:

  • Does [Stack Exchange] have an accepted standard on language and spelling? Which is it?

    For bodies, no. For tags, US-English.

  • At the risk of starting torrents of angry comments, I'd say the correct one is whichever one the OP uses. It is acceptable to fix spelling and grammar errors in someone's response, but if you feel that their favourite spelling of 'behaviour' colours your judgment, then I'm afraid they should just get over it.

    It is not acceptable to change American to British spellings or British to American.

We don't make edits to change "colour" to "color" or vice versa. If someone makes such an edit, we roll it back and gently remind them that all dialects of English are acceptable here.

Lightsabre is an acceptable British English spelling of "lightsaber". It can be found in Wiktionary and the definitive Oxford English Dictionary, and is the spelling used by multiple other UK sources. This makes sense, as "lightsaber" literally means "saber of light", and "saber" is just a US spelling of sabre. Thus, the convention should be:

call the tag , but leave lightsabre/lightsaber up to the OP in the post.

  • 3
    I'd argue that neither the Wiktionary (edited by random internet people) nor the OED have the authority to determine how it should be spelled.
    – Valorum
    Jul 15 '17 at 21:04
  • 6
    In the link to "used by multiple UK sources", literally the first comment on the first source is someone explaining that that's not how you spell lightsaber!
    – Valorum
    Jul 15 '17 at 21:05
  • The OED is the definitive record of the English language. It doesn't get much more authoritative than that.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 15 '17 at 21:06
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    In the sense that it also includes common misspellings, no it's not
    – Valorum
    Jul 15 '17 at 21:06
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    @Randal'Thor: The OED is not the Académie française. They don't get to dictate the "correct" spellings of words.
    – Kevin
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:18
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    @Kevin No, they don't dictate what's "correct", but if a word is in the OED, then it's hard to deny that it is an actual word.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:19
  • I'm sure you can find ain't and y'all in the OED too, shall I start using those?
    – Kevin
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:24
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    @Kevin Sure, go right ahead. I certainly ain't going to start editing all these posts y'all have already written.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:26
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    What about "The Ministry of Magick" or other such obviously wrong spellings?
    – Kevin
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:32
  • @Kevin That's just a misspelling, not an alternative considered acceptable in certain variants of English.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:32
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    Nope, it checks out.
    – Kevin
    Jul 16 '17 at 21:34
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    @Kevin it may check out, but it's quite literally defined as an archaic spelling, and therefore it is implied that it shouldn't be used (unless you wish to sound archaic, in which case go right ahead). If Old English was commonly spoken in a certain country I would argue that "Ministry of Magick" would be a correct spelling there, just as sabre is correct in England and saber in America.
    – JohnCH
    Jul 18 '17 at 2:08

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