from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The forming of words with letters in an accepted order; orthography.
  • noun The art or study of orthography.
  • noun The way in which a word is spelled.
  • noun A person's ability to spell words.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A story; a relation; a tale.
  • noun The act of one who spells; the manner of forming words with letters; or thography.
  • noun A collocation of letters representing a word; a written word as spelled in a particular way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of one who spells; formation of words by letters; orthography.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to spelling.
  • adjective [U.S.] a spelling match.
  • adjective a book with exercises for teaching children to spell; a speller.
  • adjective a contest of skill in spelling words, between two or more persons.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Present participle of spell.
  • noun uncountable The act, practice, ability, or subject of forming words with letters, or of reading the letters of words; orthography.
  • noun uncountable The manner of spelling of words; correct spelling.
  • noun countable A specific spelling of a word.
  • noun US, rare, dated, countable or uncountable A spelling test or spelling bee.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun forming words with letters according to the principles underlying accepted usage


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1400s, from spell (verb) + -ing.


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  • Suport You're Local's!

    I saw this handwritten sign in a window a few days ago. The "local's" referred to are local craft makers. I like it because every word is either misspelled or grammatically incorrect.

    October 22, 2007

  • OUCH! That hurts my head!

    October 22, 2007

  • It's also surprisingly difficult to read, isn't it?

    October 22, 2007

  • Wait. What if we rearranged the punctuation?

    "Support! You're Locals."

    October 22, 2007

  • That reminds me of a story (possibly apocryphal) about the wife of Peter the Great (or was it Ivan the Terrible...?) who had a merciful streak as well as being more literate than her husband. She intercepted a note from the emperor to one of his officers about the fate of a man who was imprisoned. The note supposedly said: "Pardon impossible. To be sent to Siberia."

    Allegedly the woman changed the punctuation to read: "Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia." And the man's life was saved.

    I don't really know or care how true it is. I just thought the use of punctuation to change the meaning was interesting.

    October 22, 2007

  • And the famous "Woman, without her man, is nothing." Changed to "Woman: Without her, man is nothing." :-)

    October 22, 2007

  • I have to wonder about people who go out of their way to insert unnecessary punctuation. It's easier to type your than you're! It's easier to type locals than local's! It's a two-for-one deal: save yourself the trouble of typing extra characters, AND get the added bonus of being correct. Who wouldn't want that?

    A frightened part of me suspects that these people assume using more letters and punctuation marks equals being more grammatically intelligent. Like refusing to acknowledge that its really is the possessive form of it, because it's not as "complete" as it could be.

    October 23, 2007

  • On the nosey, U. It's the same phenomenon that we experience when people say "Bruce was really mean to she and I," but that's another story...

    October 23, 2007

  • Or "Myself and Bob decided not to go." *shudder*

    October 23, 2007

  • Or, like the sign I saw the other day:

    Lost "Keys"

    Please return to... (etc.)

    Perhaps the author really did mean that the misplaced object masquerades as keys. AGH!

    Skipv, one of my (least) favorites is similar to your example, but mixes up the cases entirely: "I can't believe he did that to her and I." STABBY!! STABBY STABBY!!

    October 23, 2007

  • In that case, you'll "love" the Gallery of "Misused" Quotation Marks. ;-)

    October 23, 2007

  • Ha! That's a "great" site! ;)

    October 23, 2007

  • Using quotes when they're "not needed" is bad, but even worse is when a speaker makes air quotes. They look like bats trying to climb a glass wall.

    October 25, 2007

  • Oh great. Now I'm going to giggle EVERY TIME someone uses air quotes! The mental image of bats trying to climb a glass wall is going to make me use them. Agh!

    October 25, 2007

  • What the bear said. *snicker*

    October 25, 2007

  • That is truly an excellent visual. We're doomed to giggle at air quotes from now on. :-)

    October 25, 2007

  • This may be opening old wounds, but check here for a mind-muddling orgy of misspellings and strange grammatical twists (including the ever-popular "random" use of "quotes").

    January 10, 2008

  • To be fair, the sign that says "Park on Grass. Get toad" could be a correctly spelled incitement to anti-batrachian action.

    January 11, 2008

  • That is my new favorite comment ever.

    January 11, 2008

  • I would think it would be pro-batrachian, no?

    January 11, 2008

  • Ha ha. Depends how you interpret "get", rt. I like your reading though. Free toad for those forced to park on the grass.

    January 11, 2008

  • I just don't want to think about the anti-batrachian version. Too squishy.

    January 11, 2008

  • Anti-batrachian has led me to a lamentable word: antimollusque, a French panvocalic describing the action of a molluscicide, which itself has the variant spelling *shudder* molluscacide, also panvocalic. *Can't resist...must list...Arrgh.*

    January 11, 2008

  • Sounds as though you're experiencing a stage of Wordie addiction. ;-)

    January 11, 2008

  • Sign, professionally printed, in the Payless Rental Car return lane at the Denver airport:

    Please leave "keys" in the car.

    You know--keys. *wink wink nudge nudge*

    I don't get it...

    June 12, 2008

  • Maybe it was printed by one of the local's.

    June 12, 2008

  • Maybe it's creator was having a bad day.

    June 13, 2008

  • I take it you already know

    Of tough and bough and cough and dough?

    Others may stumble, but not you,

    On hiccough, thorough, lough and through?

    Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,

    To learn of less familiar traps?

    Beware of heard, a dreadful word

    That looks like beard and sounds like bird,

    And dead: it's said like bed, not bead -

    For goodness sake don't call it deed!

    Watch out for meat and great and threat

    (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).

    A moth is not a moth in mother,

    Nor both in bother, broth in brother,

    And here is not a match for there

    Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,

    And then there's dose and rose and lose -

    Just look them up - and goose and choose,

    And cork and work and card and ward,

    And font and front and word and sword,

    And do and go and thwart and cart -

    Come, come, I've hardly made a start!

    A dreadful language? Man alive!

    I'd mastered it when I was five!

    --Quoted by Vivian Cook and Melvin Bragg 2004,

    by Richard Krogh, in D Bolinger & D A Sears, Aspects of Language, 1981,and in Spelling Progress Bulletin March 1961, Brush up on your English.

    More here.

    June 17, 2008

  • Sadly ironic video in which Fox News misspells the word "education" during its newscast.

    July 23, 2008

  • oroboros, that is a darling poem! I love the site as well. :)

    July 23, 2008

  • Perhaps this guy should switch to a language with words that aren't so difficult to spell.

    October 8, 2008

  • "Gorgeous Italian Spruce top with bearclaw figure that exhibits a brilliant shitoyance when turned in the light." Martin Music.

    I think he means chatoyance, but maybe the guitar just looks like...ummm...crap.

    May 19, 2009

  • Brackets on shitoyance please! I have just the list for it!

    May 19, 2009

  • Isn't chatoyance what cats' eyes do? Or am I thinking about foudroyance? Or maybe food-roints?

    Is very confused.

    May 19, 2009

  • Cats' eyes and star sapphires, si.

    May 19, 2009

  • Thanks, skip.

    I think that's one of the best misspellings I've heard of lately.

    May 20, 2009

  • Gosh, remember when there used to be copy-editors?

    May 20, 2009

  • They're all being laid off, it seems, because people (who usually cannot, themselves, spell) think they're unnecessary.

    May 20, 2009

  • *hands up* I have just come from drinkiepoos with our team of copy editors, all of whom have been laid off today. Apparently the idea is all the writers will write perfect English from the start and all I have to do is proof-read it.

    May 20, 2009

  • May I just say, on your behalf, "J***s Ch***t."

    May 20, 2009

  • Joel's chalet.

    May 20, 2009

  • Qroqqa, they laid off all of my company's copyeditors last fall, and guess what? Since then, every manuscript we've received has been perfect!

    *extremely heavy sarcasm*

    May 20, 2009

  • Uhh... I found a pretty good example of bad spelling here. Now there's a guy who needs a copyeditor.

    May 21, 2009

  • Or something.

    May 21, 2009

  • I adore seeing misspelled complaints about spelling. Does that make me a bad person?

    June 30, 2013

  • What a spiel!.......with stile?

    July 1, 2013