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Mold vs. Mould

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  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Americans and the British spell many words differently. Americans omit the U that appears in some British words as a second vowel directly before a consonant. This rule doesn’t extend to every such word, though, so it can be confusing to remember which words have different spellings. Mold and mould are alternate spellings of the same word. Continue reading to find out in which context each would be appropriate.

In this article, I will compare mold vs. mould. I will use each spelling in a sentence and explain its proper context. Finally, I will discuss a helpful trick to use when you aren’t sure whether to choose mould or mold in your own writing.


The world mould originated from Middle English: apparently from Old French modle, from Latin modulus. In another sense, it originated from late Middle English: probably from obsolete mould, past participle of moul ‘grow mouldy’, of Scandinavian origin; compare with Old Norse mygla ‘grow mouldy’. One more sense of the word indicated its origin from Old English molde, from a Germanic base meaning ‘pulverize or grind’; related to meal.

Mould as noun:

Mould is used as a noun which means a hollow container used to give shape to molten or hot liquid material when it cools and hardens.

The smith would pour the molten metal into the shaped mould.

Mould as a noun also means a furry growth of minute fungi occurring typically in moist warm conditions, especially on food or other organic matter.

I wanted to eat the quiche I made two weeks ago, but it had mold on it.

Mould also means soft loose earth.

The ground was soft and damp, with old leaves thick in the mould.

Mould as verb:

Mould is used as a verb which means to form (an object) out of malleable material.

Mould the figure from white fondant.

Use of mold:

The word mold is the American spellings for mould and has the exact same meanings.

Mold vs. Mould


Inside, the rain had spawned black, green, and yellow mold that crawled the walls. [Atlantic]

Obama has been more in the mold of George H.W. Bush and his secretary of state. [Daily Beast]

If some of the insulation is intact, leave it in place unless it is moldy. [Boston Globe]

Use of mould:

Mould is a British English spelling of mold. It is used in all of the same contexts as mold.


Without air conditioning in a highly humid climate, mould could form. [Montreal Gazette]

And Pretty Ballerinas is still making shoes in the mould of the original pair created in 1918. [New Zealand Herald]

There’s no bread, and even the mouldy cheese has been chipped away at. [Scotsman]

Mold or mould:

Mold and mould are alternate spellings of the same word, which can refer to fungus or a container for molten liquid as a noun, or the act of shaping something as a verb. Americans use mold, but the British use mould. Since mould contains a U, like United Kingdom, you can easily keep these words straight in your mental vocabulary.



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