Variant Spellings in American English Dictionaries

Amer Heri 3rd = American Heritage, 3rd Edition (1992) Merr-Webs 10th = Merriam-Webster's Collegiate, 10th Edition (1993) Rand Coll 2nd = Random House College, 2nd Edition (1997) Rand Unab 2nd = Random House Unabridged, 2nd Edition (1987) Webs 3rd Intl = Webster's 3rd New International (1961)

Spellings variously given as full-fledged variants, informal, or other in the dictionaries noted

full variant in Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd; "informal" in Amer Heri 3rd
full variant in Rand Coll 2nd
full variant in Rand Coll 2nd
full variant in Merr-Webs 10th; "a simplified spelling" in Rand
Coll 2nd; "informal" in Amer Heri 3rd
full variant in Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th; "pronunciation
spelling" in Rand Coll 2nd
"a simplified spelling" in Rand Coll 2nd; "nonstandard
variant" in Merr-Webs 10th
(for "slough" meaning "to shed/discard/shirk") full variant in
Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

full variant Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd full variant in Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd full variant in Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd (cymbals) full variant in Merr-Webs 10th full variant in Merr-Webs 10th; "an informal, simplified spelling" in Rand Coll 2nd full variant in Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

donut: full variant in Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd
thru:
drive-thru:
see-thru:
tho:
altho:
thoro:
sluff:
hifalutin:
hijinks:
hi-tech:
hi-hat:
nite:
penlite:

The rest of the spellings in this section are all given as full-fledged variants in the dictionaries noted

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Merr-Webs 10th

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

analog:
dialog:
epilog:
monolog:
prolog:
travelog:
ideolog:
Decalog:
synagog:
demagog:
pedagog:

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Rand Coll 2nd, Webs 3rd Intl

esthetic:
esthetically:
esthete:
subpena:

(when used as a verb) Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Unab 2nd Rand Unab 2nd, Webs 3rd Intl Rand Coll 2nd Webs 3rd Intl

merchandize:
surprize:
exorcize:
advertize:
comprize:
emprize:
enterprize:

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th Webs 3rd Intl

liquify:
rarify:
putrify:

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

(as a variant of "height"): Rand Unab 2nd, Webs 3rd Intl

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Rand Unab 2nd, Webs 3rd Intl

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Unab 2nd Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Unab 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Coll 2nd

Amer Heri 3rd, Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Unab 2nd

Merr-Webs 10th, Rand Unab 2nd

gage:
harken:
hight
trolly:
epinephrin:
dumfound:
franticly:
aline:
alinement:
rime:
templet:
miniscule:
momento:
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"Alright" is given as a variant for "all right" in "Merriam- Webster's Collegiate" 10th and "Random House College" 2nd; entries in both dictionaries contain usage notes stating that "alright" does occur often in dialog and informal writing, but that "all right" is still the only form for formal writing. The "American Heritage" 3rd gives "alright" as a "non-standard" spelling.

"Ameba" is the first given spelling in most American medical and scientific dictionaries as of the late 1990s. Further, the entry in the "Random House College," 2nd Edition (1997) reads: ..

ameba or amoeba (n.) ..
However, "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate," 10th Edition (1993), the "American Heritage," 3rd Edition (1992), and other American dictionaries list "amoeba" first, with "ameba" as a variant.

"Lite" is used in published, edited matter, and basically only for one quite specialized meaning, "having fewer calories," or figuratively, "having less substance." But "lite" really isn't used in print for other meanings of "light"; in fact, "lite" is emerging as an entity on its own, with a literal meaning it got from "light" (fewer calories) and has, as its own word now, developed an additional figurative meaning.

The "American Heritage Dictionary," 3rd Edition has an entry for "lite" which reads:
_
lite (lit), _adj._ _Slang._ Having less substance or
weight or fewer calories than something else: _"lite
music, shimmering on the surface and squishy soft at
the core"_ (Mother Jones) [Alteration of LIGHT 2.]
LIGHT 2 in that dictionary is for the adjective meaning "not heavy," etc.

(LIGHT 2 in this edition is the adjective meaning "not heavy; exerting little force," etc.; LIGHT 1 is "light" meaning luminescence.)

In "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate" 10th, the entry for "lite" is:
_
lite \'lit\, _var of_ 4 LIGHT 9a
In this volume, the 4th entry LIGHT is the adjective meaning "not heavy; exerting little force," etc. (The first LIGHT is the luminescence meaning; 2 LIGHT is for the adjectival meaning of "not bright" or "pale"; and 3 LIGHT is the verb meaning "to brighten.") Definition 9a of 4 LIGHT reads:
9 a: made with a lower calorie content or with less of some ingredient (as salt, fat, or alcohol) than usual < ~ beer> < ~ salad dressing>

The 2nd Edition of the "Random House College" has:
_
lite (lit), _adj._ an informal, simplified spelling
of LIGHT 2, used esp. in labeling, naming, or
advertising commercial products. --lite'ness, _n._
LIGHT 2 in that dictionary is for the adjective meaning "not heavy," etc.

It's interesting too to note that the "Random House" entry also gives a word "derived" from "lite," the noun "liteness."

Another note on this spelling is that, while no dictionary lists "lite" as a valid variant for "light" in terms of "luminescence," two dictionaries (noted near the top of this list) do list "penlite" (and this certainly doesn't mean "a pen with less ink" :-) ).

"Gonna" is listed as a "pronunciation spelling" for "going to" when used in future tenses in the "Random House College," 2nd Edition, and "gotta" is also listed in that volume as a "pronunciation spelling" for "(have) got to." "Gimme" for "give me" and "U" for "you" are given in that volume of "Random House" as pronunciation spellings as well.

Is "e-mail" an acceptable variant of "E-mail"? According to the "Random House College" 2nd (1997), it's more than that. The entry there begins:

e-mail or E-mail ....

In "Merriam-Webster's Collegiate" 10th (1993) the entry for this gives "E-mail" with the capital letter as the only possibility.

By Cornell Kimball