Misspelled or Misspelt?

The Quick Answer
Mispelled and mispelt are spelling mistakes. Both are written with a double s, i.e., misspelled and misspelt.

If you're unsure whether to use misspelled and misspelt, use misspelled.
If you're following UK writing conventions, you can use misspelt, but it has been less popular than misspelled since the mid-1970s.

Misspelled and Misspelt

Somewhat ironically, the verb to misspell is commonly misspelled. It is written with a double s. In other words:
  • mispell , mispelled , mispellt
  • misspell , misspelled , misspelt
Also of note, to misspell is one of those verbs with both an irregular form and a regular form. This means the past tense and the past participle can be written as either misspelled or misspelt.

Americans Demand Misspelled

In America, misspelled dominates. The use of misspelt as the past tense or past participle of to spell is considered a spelling mistake by most Americans.

Brits Will Accept Misspelled or Misspelt

Outside America, misspelled has been more popular than misspellt since the mid-1970s. (Here is evidence from Google's Ngram viewer.) In the UK, both misspelled and misspelt are accepted.

Spelled and Spelt

It's the same with spelled and spelt. Americans demand spelled, but Brits will accept either.

Verbs with Irregular and Regular Forms

The following verbs (like to spell) have both regular and irregular forms:

VerbPast SimplePast Participle
burnburned OR burntburned OR burnt
dreamdreamed OR dreamtdreamed OR dreamt
learnlearned OR learntlearned OR learnt
hanghung
also hanged
hung
also hanged
smellsmelled OR smeltsmelled OR smelt
Interactive Test
 
 

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? dived and dove e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? hanged and hung imply or infer? its or it's? learned and learnt material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are verbs? What are regular verbs? What are regular verbs? What is the past tense? What are past participles? What are nouns? List of easily confused words