spell·​ing | \ ˈspe-liŋ How to pronounce spelling (audio) \

Definition of spelling

1 : the forming of words from letters according to accepted usage : orthography
2a : a sequence of letters composing a word
b : the way in which a word is spelled

Examples of spelling in a Sentence

The American spelling is “color” while the British spelling is “colour.” The words “made” and “maid” sound alike but have different spellings.

Recent Examples on the Web

My sister went to the national spelling bee three times and her highest place was 19th. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Spring teens’ website takes off in competitive spelling community," 14 June 2019 This post has been updated with the correct spelling of Alicia Glen. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "You Can Now Nominate a Woman to Become a Monument in NYC," 20 June 2018 Regardless of the spelling, the title sends the message that Trump sees his order as a short-term solution, and expects Congress to pass an immigration bill. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "Anatomy of an executive order: What President Trump’s order on family separation does," 21 June 2018 That claim about Native American heritage is repeated in a story published in 1875 in the New Orleans Times in which the writer attempts to standardize the spelling of jambalaya. James Karst, NOLA.com, "A jambalaya recipe from 1844: Take one bear and clean it well ...," 6 May 2018 It was also shortened to 33 seconds, punctuated at the end with the spelling of the team’s name. Tommy Rowan, Philly.com, "A short history of the Eagles fight song," 23 Jan. 2018 Ångstrom being the correct spelling of the surname of the eponymous protagonist. James Wood, The New Yorker, "Helen DeWitt Has Your Number," 27 Oct. 2017 The grandson, Simon Goodman (the family changed the spelling of the name), says the painting was listed on an inventory of works recommended for the personal use of Adolf Hitler. Washington Post, "Nazi-looted portrait returned to heirs, will be auctioned," 21 Mar. 2018 The duchess received several gifts, including an adorable necklace featuring a very British spelling on it. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Received a Very British Baby Shower Gift & We All Missed It," 23 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spelling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of spelling

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for spelling

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for spelling

The first known use of spelling was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for spelling


spell·​ing | \ ˈspe-liŋ\

Kids Definition of spelling

1 : an exercise or the practice of forming words from letters
2 : the letters composing a word What is the correct spelling of your name?

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More from Merriam-Webster on spelling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with spelling

Spanish Central: Translation of spelling

Nglish: Translation of spelling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of spelling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on spelling

What made you want to look up spelling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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