battle royale vs battle royal

Reading an article in TIME website, I found a word “battle royale”, probably meaning argument or battle of words.

I thought this should be battle royal and battle royale was a title of a Japanese film, where people kill each other leaving only one survivor.

Do you have a word battle royale, too?

The article is:
Should a Mother Lose Custody of Her Kids Because She Has Cancer?

Thanks in advance!

As far as I am aware both forms of spelling are acceptable. ‘Royale’ probably came to us from France. The term was in use in English long before the film was produced if these quotes are accurate:


There is a difference in the way you say this. ‘Battle royal’ would to me mean the usual expression. The other way of saying this would be to make both words French and say: Bataille royale. But mixing the two is just silly.


I’m sure that all these people will be most upset to hear that they are silly:

That’s really their problem. They are hardly writers of purple prose or should I say passages pourpres (sorry can’t do the accent on my keyboard) Mixing the two is about as daft as saying to someone when you leave at night: Good nuit!


I’m sure that many of them would see it as your problem… which, of course, won’t worry you in the slightest (any more than your opinion is likely to worry them).

Oh dear! It seems to worry you, though.


I’m afraid you are mistaken. Was there a purpose (other than to indicate the usual sarcasm) for sending me a voice message?


I can’t see why using a voice message has anything to do with sarcasm. The point I made originally was that I thought using the expression ‘battle royale’ was silly because it was neither wholly French nor wholly English and I still think that. It was you who remarked:

That was the reason why I said you seemed concerned about my comment. And that has nothing to do with sarcasm.


I referred to the voice message in post #7. I still see no other point for it, but no matter.
The point has been made that whereas one makes more sense, both are in use (possibly due to the influence of the book, film and computer game). I have no wish to turn this into a battle royal.

Hi Alan,

  • Is it also possible to say: ‘The soldier died in battle brave.’

Yet, I would like to add that Beeesneees was right about the word ‘royale’. It was probably lent from French and then it became ‘royal’. I’m sure that you are well aware of your country’s history and that William The Conquerer was a vassal of the King of France, but at the same time he was also King of England. But I do agree with you that it sounds very un-English if you mix up both.



I don’t know the expression ‘battle brave’. It’s probably the soldier who was brave rather than the battle.


Thanks Alan,

I think I must have read a book in which it was printed. Bad author then?


Could it possibly have been printed in a poem? I can imagine it being used as a line in a poem, where the usual rules of grammar are often ignored for the sake of the ‘artistic form’.

Hi Rei,

A ‘battle royale’ is a large battle or dispute. There are often more than just words involved.

The usual form in the US is ‘battle royale’. I doubt that many people here would use ‘battle royal’ – unless perhaps it was to describe some sort of fight between one member of the British royal family and another. :wink:

Any use of ‘battaille royale’ would run the risk of sounding pompous and arrogant – unless it was actually part of a text that was written entirely in French.

Perhaps you’ve also heard this double-oh-seven combination: Casino Royale

[size=75]“To cultivate an English accent is already a departure away from what you are.” ~ Sean Connery[/size]

No, I wouldn’t say that. The main point about English is its adaptability and versatility. By the way, why do you ask this question twice?


Hi ESL-Expert,

I think you are right. The Wars of the Roses started in 1455 and lasted until 1485. There was a fight between the two noble houses of York and Lancaster, whose members were on and off the throne because they deposed each other when they could, until Henry VII went on the battlefield at Market Bosworth and chopped off Richard III’s head. Both houses descended from Edward III. So I would call that a ‘battle royal’. Correct?



I’m a fan of Japanese film, comic, etc. so just laughed when see this “battle royale was a title of a Japanese film” and your problem.

Japanese still call Furansu instead France, Igirisu = England, sekyuriti = security, et cetera.
Some people in my country call “Nã Phá Luân” in place of Moscow
Why wonder a correctness at a country don’t use the correct ?

Ta ~ da

According to the online dictionary, Battle royal has a definition. Battle Royale is a book.