Both math and maths are short for the word mathematics. Math is the preferred term in the United States and Canada. Maths is the preferred term in England, Australia, and most other English-speaking places.
The word math can refer to either the discipline or subject of mathematics. It can also refer to mathematical procedures. In a sentence like “She enjoys studying math and science,” the word math refers to the subject or discipline of mathematics. In the sentence, “She insisted on seeing his math so she could understand his proposal,” math refers to actual calculations.
Maths has the very same definition as math. If you substitute maths into any of the above examples, the sentences mean the exact same thing. For example: “He loves school, but he especially enjoys maths.”
Math vs. Maths
The only difference between math and maths is where they’re used. Like we said earlier, speakers of American and Canadian English use math, while speakers of Australian and British English use maths.
There’s no real explanation as to why math became preferred in some places while maths was elsewhere. Both of these words date back to the turn of the 20th century. There are examples of math in writings from the 1890s, and of maths from the 1910s.
British vs. American English
Besides math and maths, there are a few other words that have the same meaning but different spelling in American or British English. In some cases, British and American English words are completely different. For example, American English speakers use the words truck, shopping cart, and sweater. British English speakers say lorry, trolley, and jumper to mean the same things. In other cases, the differences between British and American English words are much more subtle. For instance, American English uses the term racecar, while British English uses the word racing car.
In still other cases, British and American English words differ by just one letter, as in the case of math and maths. This also happens with the words sport and sports. In American English, you’d say, “I enjoy playing sports, and I also like watching sports.” In British English, this sentence would be “I enjoy playing sport, and I also like watching sport.”