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

Since that draft Ally ended up changing the spelling of her name and moving in with her pops. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "A Star Is Born Fans Couldn't Agree On This One Plot Point—Here's the Answer," 25 Feb. 2019 Listening to a story is simplicity itself; learning to read is harder, especially given the lawless spelling of so many English words. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Inspiring Words for Aspiring Readers," 13 Dec. 2018 Santa Cruz, California Mentone Key Players: Chef David Kinch Estimated Debut: Spring Mentone is the Italian spelling for the French village of Menton, near the border of France and Italy. Kat Odell, Vogue, "2019’s Most Anticipated American Restaurant Openings," 3 Jan. 2019 Here's a good excuse for screen time: Osmo's Genius Kit offers up fun games on your iPad that promote math, spelling, and other learning skills. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "We’re Officially Calling Scruff-a-Luvs the Hottest Holiday Toy of 2018," 4 Sep. 2018 Because of spelling errors and variations on names, Sponsor will attempt to standardize to match the vote to the correct candidate, and such decisions are in the sole discretion of Sponsor. baltimoresun.com, "Official Rules: The Baltimore Sun's Best Restaurants Readers’ Poll 2018," 23 Jan. 2018 Strategies include sending email ostensibly from someone the recipient knows and improving grammar and spelling. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "Russia is the top aggressor of internet attacks on the US," 7 Sep. 2018 Neither have grammar Nazis (a term used to describe someone who habitually corrects grammar and spelling mistakes made by others). Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why You Need to Say No to Civility," 27 June 2018 Like, if my spelling and grammar was that bad, I'd be canceled. Amalia Nunez, CBS News, "Cardi B deletes Instagram after responding to Azealia Banks," 12 May 2018

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

11 Mar 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

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the way words of a language are spelled

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