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 Jean Elizabeth Garrigan, who later changed the spelling of her first name to Jeanne, was born in Brooklyn on March 6, 1943. New York Times, "Jeanne Guillemin, Who Exposed Soviet Anthrax Lab, Dies at 76," 22 Dec. 2019 Upon its rechristening as a restaurant the name became Shillings, minus the C, although the original spelling is evident in the tile at the entrance. Jennifer Brett, ajc, "After 41 years, Marietta Square mainstay Shillings has sold," 19 Nov. 2019 The correct spelling has been updated in the original story and the web version of Bay Briefing. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: New buses, same highway," 29 Aug. 2019 Following the video, tour guide James Goodrich delved into the history of cacao — fun fact: An error in the spelling of cacao, where the a’s and o’s were switched, resulted in the common use of cocoa — as well as the process of producing chocolate. Kathleen Christiansen, orlandosentinel.com, "World Chocolate Day: Chocolate Museum & Cafe and Chocolate Kingdom offer tours," 7 July 2019 The email is distinctively Collins, with unusual capitalization, odd spellings, and even a text emoji and an lol, text-speak for laugh out loud. Freep.com, "John Norman Collins — one of Michigan's most notorious killers — pens letter to the Free Press," 11 Nov. 2019 It’s along our short walk to croissants and views in the square, which is formed by the Museu di Bastia (the Corse spelling of museum) and several restaurants with patios overlooking the harbor below and the Tyrrhenian Sea beyond. David Holahan, courant.com, "Visiting Corsica: Up and Down and Around The Mountainous Mediterranean Idyll," 13 Sep. 2019 This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the honored photographer’s name to Mohamed Ben Khalifa, instead of Mohamed Bin Khalifa. Washington Post, "AP honors journalist executed in 1951 by Chinese officials," 12 Dec. 2019 Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the victims and to correct the spelling of several names based on new information from officials. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "Jersey City shooting victims identified: "It's one of the hardest things you have to see"," 11 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for spelling

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

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Statistics for spelling

Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Spelling.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spelling. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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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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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).


to assert without proof or before proving

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