Doughnut Or Donut? The Great Spelling Debate Of Our Time

By Kristen Aiken for

Doughnuts have become an integral part of American culture, loved for providing us with mouths full of comfort and loathed for ruining our diets. Beyond this love/hate relationship is another duality we apparently feel very passionately about: The correct spelling. Is it doughnut or donut?

Doughnut is the old-school, original term, but donut is picking up steam and is more popular in our ever-expanding online world. So is there a right way to spell our favorite ringed food of all time? Let’s settle this.

It’s difficult to pin down the exact date of the doughnut’s inception, but it’s quite clear that the first printed mention of the fried treat referred to it as “dough-nut,” spelled out to its full glory (and with an added hyphen). In 1809, Washington Irving wrote lovingly of the foodstuff in “A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty:”

“Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast of an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called dough-nuts, or oly koeks: a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in this city, excepting in genuine Dutch families.”

(Oly koeks translates to “oily cakes,” a far less appetizing name than doughnuts. Just imagine — if they were still called “oily cakes” today, do you think we’d have two food holidays named after them? Would Homer Simpson have ever uttered the phrase, “Mmmmm, oily cakes?” But we digress.)

Read more here.

Help your child learn to read with Reading Kingdom. Sign up today for a free 30 day trial.