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Is It Macau or Macao

Is it Macau or Macao? This is one of the most common questions people have about the former Portuguese colony and famous casino destination in Asia.

After all, both ways are used interchangeably today.

Is It Macau or Macao, Portuguese & English Spelling Difference

It’s normal to wonder about it, since the use of both spellings is common and widespread across the small Asian city. The official correct way to spell it is Macao, as this is how government offices and authorities do so.  Macau was the spelling influenced by the Portuguese since they pronounce it with an accent on the last a to add stress to the last syllable. Macao is also considered the English spelling, though it has evolved through time and history.

If you’re still wondering: Is it Macau or Macao? Well, there were different times in history when each was correct. Back in the 1980s, Macao shifted to the Portuguese way of spelling: Macau. But by 1999, when Macao was handed over back to the Chinese government, there had been another shift to its original spelling. Additionally, the country code is MO, which is based on the English spelling ending with an o.

While the shift to Macao is not strict, the Macanese government always uses this spelling. When dealing with any government matters, it is wise to use official spelling, though in other cases, they are more relaxed about it. In fact, Macao is also how it is spelled in passports. It is also recommended to use the Macao spelling when writing about the territory, even if they do refer to the same place at the end of the day.

The next time you wonder, is it Macau or Macao? Now you know the story behind it and which of these is correct.

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