Flier and flyer are super easy to mix up with each other because they are spelled so similarly. These words are considered homonyms because they are spelled similarly, but homonyms usually have different meanings. Flier and flyer more closely relate to variant spelling.
These words are variant spellings of each other. The words can be used interchangeably but will be more popular in one country compared to another. For example, you will rarely see flier used in British English, but you will see it in American English.
Flyer is used almost double the amount that flier is in the English language. It hasn’t always been easily agreed upon about which is the proper spelling, and it still hasn’t fully been agreed upon, so it doesn’t come as a shock that people are confused about whether or not they are using the right spelling of the word.
Flier is referring to one that flies something, like a pilot, an airman, or a person who frequently travels on a plane. It can also refer to a bird or a bug that flies.
The word flier might also refer to someone who moves incredibly fast, like a runner. This is because when someone passes us at a high speed, we say that they “flew by”.
Less common, but still accurate, flier can refer to a paper that has an advertisement or information given to people that walk by or put on a wall to grab as you walk by.
Flier can also mean to take a chance. When you take a flier, you are taking a risk and hoping that it will work out in your favor.
Most birds are graceful fliers.
The cheerleaders who get thrown in the air are called fliers.
I know she has plenty of frequent flier miles on her account.
It isn’t smart to gamble, but I am going to take a flier on that game over there.
Flyer is a noun that can refer to a pamphlet that usually contains information about something. This could be a poster of a missing pet, a piece of paper with information for a party, or information on a specific subject.
Flyer can also refer to someone or something that flies like an airplane pilot or airplane passenger. Also, like flier, flyer can refer to someone who is moving at a fast pace.
Flyer can also be referring to a tool that is used to twist or spin yarn. This is the only instance that flier can’t be used in place of flyer.
I saw a flyer posted about a cat that has been missing for a few days.
The flyer that was handed out at school included information about the dress code.
The yarn flyer is a tool that is used to twist or spin yarn.
A commercial is a digital flyer containing information.
Flyer vs Flier
Flier was originally the American English spelling of the word, while flyer was the British English spelling. An American organization called the Associated Press recommended flier be used. A British publication called The Economist recommended that flyer be used.
The words are both common in American English and British English, though you will likely notice one being used more than the other depending on where you are.
The alternate spellings do not mean much difference in usage. Flyer is more common than flier, as it is used almost twice as often as flier is used. If you have any confusion about which spelling you should use, it is best to stick with flyer.