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Donut vs. Doughnut

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Everyone enjoys a doughnut every now and then—glazed, powdered, sprinkled, jelly filled. It’s hard not to love them. But what’s the correct spelling for this tasty treat? Is it doughnut or donut? The official dictionary spelling of the word is doughnut with donut generally being listed as a variant of the preferred original spelling.

Origin:

Doughnut is the original spelling of the word, coming onto the scene in the early 1800s. The Oxford English Dictionary lists Washington Irving’s reference to doughnuts in his 1809 History of New York as the first published use of the word. Describing what we now call doughnut holes, Irving put this word into the English lexicon.

Donut as noun:

Donut is a small fried cake of sweetened dough, typically in the shape of a ball or ring.

Use of Doughnut:

Doughnut are the original spellings of the word and are most commonly used in British English. Even with the worldwide popularity of Dunkin’ Donuts, doughnut is much more common to see in print in American English and especially British English.

Examples:

I say that almost every morning when I get out of bed even though I have never made a doughnut in my entire life. [The Atlantic]

The corporation is vacating the doughnut-shaped TV Centre by 2015. [Guardian]

Hundreds more were lost in the near-collapse in November of doughnut chain Krispy Kreme. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Use of Donut:

Donut, an American variant, first appeared in the late 1800s as a contraction of the original spelling. The shortened spelling didn’t immediately catch on, however, and remained mostly dormant until midway through the 20th century. Since the founding of the successful American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts, this spelling has increased steadily and rapidly.

Examples:

I counted at least four bakeries, and sampled a truly marvellous donut in the main square. [Stuff.co.nz]

Was it because the blog outed their favorite little-known coffee and donut shack, bringing hordes of unwanted tourists to their undercover hangout? [Independent]

Smith has the amazing ability of making you feel great, even if you’ve just downed a donut. [Toronto Sun]

Doughnut or donut:

Whether you’re referring to doughnuts or donuts, it’s important to stay consistent. Pick one spelling and stick with it. Doughnut is the original, generally preferred spelling of the word. It is more common in the United States and vastly more common internationally. Donut is an Americanized, shortened version of donut that isn’t incorrect, but it is much less common. Most publications opt for doughnut.

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"Donut vs. Doughnut." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 20 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/donut_vs._doughnut>.

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