Each of the current spellings has some analogical support. The only mod.Eng. words repr. OE. words ending in -æg are key (which is irrelevant on account of its pronunciation), whey, and clay. If we further take into consideration the words repr. OE. words in -æge, viz. blay or bley, fey, wey, we have three (or four) instances of ey and only two (or one) of ay. On the other hand, this advantage in favour of grey is counterbalanced by the facts that clay is the only word of the five which is in very general use, and that grey is phonetically ambiguous, while gray is not. With regard to the question of usage, an inquiry by Dr. Murray in Nov. 1893 elicited a large number of replies, from which it appeared that in Great Britain the form grey is the more frequent in use, notwithstanding the authority of Johnson and later Eng. lexicographers, who have all given the preference to gray. In answer to questions as to their practice, the printers of The Times stated that they always used the form gray; Messrs. Spottiswoode and Messrs. Clowes always used grey; other eminent printing firms had no fixed rule. Many correspondents said that they used the two forms with a difference of meaning or application: the distinction most generally recognized being that grey denotes a more delicate or a lighter tint than gray. Others considered the difference to be that gray is a 'warmer' colour, or that it has a mixture of red or brown (cf. also the quot. under 1 c below). In the twentieth century, grey has become the established spelling in the U.K., whilst gray is standard in the United States. There seems to be nearly absolute unanimity as to the spelling of 'The Scots Greys', 'a pair of greys'. As the word is both etymologically and phonetically one, it is undesirable to treat its graphic forms as differing in signification.