spell·​ing | \ˈspe-liŋ \

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 wake-up moment On the morning of December 7 last year, I was supposed to make French toast with the kids, then help Jack study for a spelling bee. Amy Parrish, Good Housekeeping, ""How I Finally Stopped Drinking and Earned Back My Family's Trust"," 20 Nov. 2013 Gaga/Ally's triumphant yell/howl of indistinguishable spelling in the song is also fodder for a great many memes. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Is A Star Is Born the New Titanic? Discuss.," 9 Oct. 2018 Airlines get repainted all the time—normally, though, without obvious spelling errors, and without making headlines around the world. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Cathay Pacific Misspells Its Own Name on Side of Plane," 19 Sep. 2018 This story has also been updated to correct the spelling of Jonathon Taylor's name. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Brown bear believed to have killed hiker and mauled searcher stays out of sight," 22 June 2018 Editor's note: This story was updated May 10, 2018, to correct the spelling of AFSCME spokesman Chris Flink's last name. Molly Sullivan, sacbee, "A massive UC-wide strike concluded Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know," 9 May 2018 Less than an hour later, the show was trending worldwide on Twitter with two different spellings. Emily Yahr, BostonGlobe.com, "Why ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ fans are taking its cancellation so hard," 11 May 2018 Authorities had previously identified the suspect with a different spelling of his first name. Bloomberg.com, "Sheriff IDs Shooting Suspect as Nikolas Cruz," 14 Feb. 2018 Luckily, grammar sticklers have pointed out the mistake on many posts using the incorrect spelling. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "America can't spell: Melania Trump, others use #IndependanceDay — not Independence Day," 4 July 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

2 Dec 2018

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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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