Difference Between Ambiance or Ambience

Ambiance and ambience, often used interchangeably in English, refer to the atmosphere or mood of a particular environment. While these terms are virtually identical in meaning, slight preferences in usage might vary depending on regional English variations. This article aims to clarify these terms by exploring their definitions, origins, pronunciations, and applications in sentences, providing a comprehensive understanding of when and how each might be preferred.

Quick Facts Table

DefinitionThe character and atmosphere of a placeThe character and atmosphere of a place
UsageOften used interchangeably with “ambience”Preferred in British English
OriginLate 19th century from FrenchLate 19th century from French
ContextCan be used in a slightly more specific context, such as design or hospitalityBroadly used to describe the atmosphere or mood of a place

Difference Between “Ambiance” and “Ambience”

Definition of Ambiance

Ambiance refers to the atmosphere or mood created by a particular environment, emphasizing the sensory impressions made by the setting. It's a term often associated with specific contexts, such as the ambiance of a restaurant, which includes lighting, music, decor, and the overall feeling evoked in the guests.

Definition of Ambience

Ambience, sharing the same definition as ambiance, relates to the character and atmosphere of a place. It is a broader term that applies to any setting, from a natural landscape to the interior of a building, focusing on the cumulative effect of the environment on the individual's experience.

Origin of Ambiance and Ambience

Both “ambiance” and “ambience” originate from the French word “ambiance,” meaning “environment” or “surrounding influence.” They entered the English language in the late 19th century, retaining the original meaning. The slight variation in spelling does not reflect a difference in origin but rather different transliterations of the same French term.


The pronunciation of both terms is identical in English: /ˈæm.bi.əns/, with the stress on the first syllable. This common pronunciation further underscores the interchangeable use of ambiance and ambience in spoken language.

Comparing Ambiance and Ambience

While “ambiance” and “ambience” are often used interchangeably, “ambience” may be slightly more prevalent in British English. The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference or regional spelling conventions rather than any significant difference in meaning. In specific contexts, such as design or hospitality, “ambiance” might be chosen to evoke a particular stylistic or thematic nuance.

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Ambiance in Sentences

  1. The restaurant is known for its cozy ambiance, featuring dim lighting and soft jazz music.
    • Here, “ambiance” is used to describe the specific sensory environment created by the restaurant’s decor and music.
  2. Candlelight adds a romantic ambiance to the evening.
    • This sentence uses “ambiance” to refer to the mood or atmosphere generated by candlelight.
  3. Designers focused on the office’s ambiance to boost creativity and productivity.
    • Indicates the use of “ambiance” in a design context, emphasizing the environment’s impact on behavior.
  4. The spa’s tranquil ambiance helps guests relax.
    • “Ambiance” describes the overall feeling of calm and relaxation created by the spa setting.
  5. A good ambiance is crucial for a successful event.
    • Refers to the importance of creating a welcoming and appropriate atmosphere for an event.
ambiance vs. ambience

Use of Ambience in Sentences

  1. The ambience of the old library was quiet and scholarly.
    • “Ambience” is used to describe the general atmosphere of the library, focusing on its quiet and intellectual environment.
  2. Nature hikes are a great way to enjoy the natural ambience.
    • Here, “ambience” refers to the outdoor environment’s mood and atmosphere.
  3. The hotel lobby’s ambience was warm and inviting.
    • Describes the hotel lobby’s atmosphere using “ambience” to convey a sense of welcome.
  4. Music can significantly alter a room’s ambience.
    • This sentence highlights how music can change the mood or character of a place.
  5. The ambience of the historic town is enchanting at night.
    • “Ambience” is used to describe the magical and charming atmosphere of the town after dark.


The distinction between “ambiance” and “ambience” is subtle, primarily reflecting regional spelling preferences rather than any significant difference in meaning. Both terms effectively describe the atmosphere or mood of a place, with the choice between them often coming down to personal or editorial style. Whether discussing the design of a space, the feeling evoked by a setting, or the general character of an environment, understanding and using these terms appropriately enhances descriptive language and communication.

Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Are “ambiance” and “ambience” interchangeable in professional writing?
    • Yes, they are interchangeable, but consistency within a document is key. Choose one spelling and stick with it throughout your writing.
  2. Is one term more correct than the other?
    • Neither term is more correct; the choice between “ambiance” and “ambience” often depends on regional spelling preferences or the context in which the term is used.
  3. Can “ambiance” and “ambience” be used in non-physical contexts?
    • While primarily used to describe physical environments, they can also metaphorically describe the atmosphere of situations, events, or narratives, extending their applicability beyond tangible settings.


What is the difference between ambiance and ambience?

There is no significant difference between ambiance and ambience in terms of meaning or usage. Both words refer to the mood or atmosphere of a place. The only distinction is the spelling.

Which spelling is correct, ambiance or ambience?

Both spellings, ambiance and ambience, are correct. Ambience is more commonly used in American English, while ambiance is often preferred in the context of art and design.

What is the origin of the word ambience/ambiance?

The word ambience originated from the Latin word “ambient” and the French word “ambiant,” both of which mean “surrounding.” It was first introduced into the English language in the late 19th century.

Can ambience and ambiance be used interchangeably?

Yes, ambience and ambiance can be used interchangeably in any circumstance. While ambience is more commonly used, ambiance retains the French spelling and may have a slightly more sophisticated or artistic connotation.

What are some examples of how to use ambience?

Ambience can be used to describe the atmosphere and mood of a place. For example, one might refer to the ambience of a restaurant or the ambience created for a romantic evening.

What are some examples of how to use ambiance?

Ambiance can also be used interchangeably with ambience. It is often used in texts related to design or art. For instance, one might mention the ambiance of a hotel room or the ambiance created by carefully chosen artwork.

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