Donut vs. Doughnut: Why You Should Use Both Spellings
There is a great debate dividing America as of late, even bigger than Trump vs. Clinton or Batman vs Superman (although it’s clear we all lost watching that movie). We’re talking about the greatest spelling argument in, dare I say, history! Donut vs. doughnut. This sweet, fried ringed treat has many grammarians and donut lovers alike up in arms over the proper spelling of America’s beloved dessert.
If we want to get technical, the official dictionary spelling is doughnut, which is also favored in the publishing world and among grammar geeks and style guides. Also, the first mention of the fried treat in print was written as dough-nut dating back to the early 1800s. Of course, we’ve done away with the hyphen since then, so what’s the big deal if a few more characters drop off? You know at some point in the future we’re going to lose the ‘dough’ all together and just start calling them nuts. Oh, what a field day donut shops will have naming their new concoctions then.So, when exactly did we decide that the ‘ugh’ was just, well, ugh! It wasn’t until the late 20th century that the donut spelling was popularized. You can thank your neighborhood Dunkin’ Donuts for that one. And if you happen to be searching on the Internet for the best spelling of the two, donut rules according to Google Trends. Here at ILD, we’re also biased to the donut spelling because we’re fans of keeping things short and sweet like our favorite little treat. Heck, who are we kidding? We’re a website, we do what Google tells us to do, so #teamdonut all the way!
As for which spelling is correct? The answer is both. Doughnut is the more proper and formal version preferred by style guides and dictionaries while donut is the cool kid on the block boasting a more laid back, suck it grammar kind of feel to it. With this in mind, we say both spellings deserve a place in the English vocabulary. It really depends on the situation. For instance, if you’re playing Scrabble and someone spells the word dough, you’re obviously going to add nut to make the word doughnut and get the 13 points, especially if it’s a triple word score. There is no place for linguistic dilemmas on game night. However; if you’re just chilling online and get a sudden craving for a fried, sugary snack, the correct course of action is tweeting “Stuffing our faces with ‘donuts’ until we puke, who’s in?” followed by the hashtags #mmmdonuts #sugarcoma and a series of smiley tongue-wagging and barf emojis. Listen, unless you’re writing a paper on the influence doughnuts have had on American culture or thanking your writer friend for the box of doughnuts, in most cases, you’re probably safe to use the shorter donut variation.
At the end of the day, does it really matter what we call these glorious round confections caked in glaze and icing sugar? Would a donut by any other name taste as sweet? Of course, it would! Just look at the Netherlands; their name for donuts is Oliebollen, which basically translates into oily balls. It doesn’t exactly scream appetizing, yet the Dutch are shoveling those things in their mouth by the dozen.So let’s put an end to this donut vs. doughnut debate once and for all and just agree that donuts are a delicious slice of heaven created to give us a reason to drag our butts out of bed and work out a little harder at the gym. Besides, there are scarier issues facing our nation right now like Ben Affleck making more superhero movies, and there is definitely no sugar coating that.