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Simplified Spelling Board痴 300 Spellings

Which U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt Implemented For Use in Govt. Documents

Source: "Simplified Spelling for the Use of Government Departments" (1906), Office of the Public Printer, Washington, D.C.

Compiled by Cornell Kimball

The list is given three times, in two different formats. In the first part, both the simplified spellings and the "traditional" spellings are listed. In the second, the simplified spellings are all listed but in general the equivalents are not. The second part is given one time in 12-point type, then again in 10-point type to fit on a single page. At the end is a note on how certain spellings became standard in American English.

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The spellings in boldface on the left side of each column are the Simplified Spelling Board痴 300 simpler spellings which U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt designated for use in government documents in August 1906:

abridgment for abridgement

accouter accoutre

accurst accursed

acknowledgment acknowledgement

addrest addressed

adz adze

affixt affixed

altho although

anapest anapaest, anap誑t

anemia anaemia, an詢ia

anesthesia anaesthesia, an誑-

anesthetic anaesthetic, an誑-

antipyrin antipyrine

antitoxin antitoxine

apothem apothegm

apprize apprise

arbor arbour

archeology archaeology, arch-

ardor ardour

armor armour

artizan artisan

assize assise

ax axe

bans banns

bark barque

behavior behaviour

blest blessed

blusht blushed

brazen brasen

brazier brasier

bun bunn

bur burr

caliber calibre

caliper calliper

candor candour

carest caressed

catalog catalogue

catechize catechise

center centre

chapt chapped

check cheque

checker chequer

chimera chimaera, chim誡a

civilize civilise

clamor clamour

clangor clangour

clapt clapped

claspt clasped

clipt clipped

clue clew

coeval coaeval, co誚al

color colour

colter coulter

commixt commixed

comprest compressed

comprize comprise

confest confessed

controller comptroller

coquet coquette

criticize criticise

cropt cropped

crost crossed

crusht crushed

cue queue

curst cursed

cutlas cutlass

cyclopedia cyclopaedia, -p訶ia

dactyl dactyle

dasht dashed

decalog decalogue

defense defence

demagog demagogue

demeanor demeanour

deposit deposite

deprest depressed

develop develope

dieresis diaeresis, di誡esis

dike dyke

dipt dipped

discust discussed

dispatch despatch

distil distill

distrest distressed

dolor dolour

domicil domicile

draft draught

dram drachm

drest dressed

dript dripped

droopt drooped

dropt dropped

dulness dullness

ecumenical oecumenical, 彡u-

edile aedile, 訶ile

egis aegis, 詒is

enamor enamour

encyclopedia encyclopaedia, -p-

endeavor endeavour

envelop envelope

Eolian Aeolian, ニolian

eon aeon, 誂n

epaulet epaulette

eponym eponyme

era aera, 誡a

esophagus oesophagus, 徭o-

esthetic aesthetic, 誑thetic

esthetics aesthetics, 誑thetics

estivate aestivate, 誑tivate

ether aether, 誥her

etiology aetiology, 誥iology

exorcize exorcise

exprest expressed

fagot faggot (bundle/sticks)

fantasm phantasm

fantasy phantasy

fantom phantom

favor favour

favorite favourite

fervor fervour

fiber fibre

fixt fixed

flavor flavour

fulfil fulfill

fulness fullness

gage gauge

gazel gazelle

gelatin gelatine

gild guild

gipsy gypsy

gloze glose

glycerin glycerine

good-by good-bye

gram gramme

gript gripped

harbor harbour

harken hearken

heapt heaped

hematin haematin, h詢atin

hiccup hiccough

hock hough

homeopathy homoeopathy, -m-

homonym homonyme

honor honour

humor humour

husht hushed

hypotenuse hypothenuse

idolize idolise

imprest impressed

instil instill

jail gaol

judgment judgement

kist kissed

labor labour

lacrimal lachrymal

lapt lapped

lasht lashed

leapt leaped

legalize legalise

license licence

licorice liquorice

liter litre

lodgment lodgement

lookt looked

lopt lopped

luster lustre

mama mamma

maneuver manoeuvre, -忖vre

materialize materialise

meager meagre

medieval mediaeval, -誚al

meter metre

mist missed

miter mitre

mixt mixed

mold mould

molder moulder

molding moulding

moldy mouldy

molt moult

mullen mullein

naturalize naturalise

neighbor neighbour

nipt nipped

niter nitre

ocher ochre

odor odour

offense offence

omelet omelette

opprest oppressed

orthopedic orthopaedic, -p訶ic

paleography palaeography, -l誂-

paleolithic palaeolithic, pal誂-

paleontology palaeontology, -l誂-

paleozoic palaeozoic, pal誂-

paraffin paraffine

parlor parlour

partizan partisan

past passed

patronize patronise

pedagog paedagogue, p訶a-

pedobaptist paedobaptist, p訶o-

phenix phoenix, ph從ix

phenomenon phaenomenon, ph-

pigmy pygmy

plow plough

polyp polype

possest possessed

practise (vb.+noun ) practice

prefixt prefixed

prenomen praenomen, pr誅o-

prest pressed

pretense pretence

preterit praeterite, pr誥erite

pretermit praetermit, pr誥er-

primeval primaeval, -誚al

profest professed

program programme

prolog prologue

propt propped

pur purr

quartet quartette

questor quaestor, qu誑tor

quintet quintette

rancor rancour

rapt rapped

raze rase

recognize recognise

reconnoiter reconnoitre

rigor rigour

rime rhyme

ript ripped

rumor rumour

saber sabre

saltpeter saltpetre

savior saviour

savor savour

scepter sceptre

septet septette

sepulcher sepulchre

sextet sextette

silvan sylvan

simitar scimitar, cimiter

sipt sipped

sithe scythe

skilful skillful

skipt skipped

slipt slipped

smolder smoulder

snapt snapped

somber sombre

specter spectre

splendor splendour

stedfast steadfast

stept stepped

stopt stopped

strest stressed

stript stripped

subpena subpoena, subp從a

succor succour

suffixt suffixed

sulfate sulphate

sulfur sulphur

sumac sumach

supprest suppressed

surprize surprise

synonym synonyme

tabor tabour

tapt tapped

teazel teasel, teasle, teazle

tenor tenour

theater theatre

tho though

thoro thorough

thorofare thoroughfare

thoroly thoroughly

thru through

thruout throughout

tipt tipped

topt topped

tost tossed

transgrest transgressed

trapt trapped

tript tripped

tumor tumour

valor valour

vapor vapour

vext vexed

vigor vigour

vizor visor

wagon waggon

washt washed

whipt whipped

whisky whiskey

wilful willful

winkt winked

wisht wished

wo woe

woful woeful

woolen woollen

wrapt wrapped

(Note: About half of the "simplified spellings" here (e.g. color, center, traveled, and judgment ) were already the standard American spellings and had been the ones used in all U.S. government documents for the previous four decades. It was only the other 150 or so spellings (e.g. stept, catalog, thru, and partizan ) that were actually being newly implemented. See brief discussion at the end of this on how certain spellings became standard in American English.)

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These are the Simplified Spelling Board痴 300 simpler spellings which U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt designated for use in government documents in August 1906:

abridgment

accouter

accurst

acknowledgment

addrest (for

addressed )

adz

affixt

altho

anapest (for

anapaest )

anemia

anesthesia

anesthetic

antipyrin

antitoxin

apothem (for

apothegm)

apprize

arbor

archeology

ardor

armor

artizan

assize

ax

bans (for banns)

bark (for barque)

behavior

blest

blusht

brazen

brazier

bun (for bunn)

bur (for burr )

caliber

caliper

candor

carest (for

caressed )

catalog

catechize

center

chapt

check (for cheque)

checker (for

chequer )

chimera (for

chimaera)

civilize

clamor

clangor

clapt

claspt

clipt

clue

coeval

color

colter (for coulter )

commixt (for

commixed )

comprest (for

compressed )

comprize

confest (for

confessed )

controller (for

comptroller )

coquet

criticize

crost (for crossed )

cropt

crusht

cue (for queue)

curst

cutlas

cyclopedia

dactyl (for dactyle)

dasht

decalog

defense

demagog

demeanor

deposit

deprest (for

depressed )

develop

dieresis (for

diaeresis)

dike

dipt

discust (for

discussed )

dispatch

distil

distrest (for

distressed )

dolor

domicil

draft

dram (for drachm)

drest (for dressed )

dript

droopt

dropt

dulness

ecumenical

edile (for aedile)

egis (for aegis)

enamor

encyclopedia

endeavor

envelop

Eolian

eon

epaulet

eponym (for

eponyme)

era

esophagus

esthetic

esthetics

estivate

ether

etiology (for

aetiology )

exorcize

exprest

fagot (meant 礎un-

dle of sticks)

fantasm

fantasy

fantom

favor

favorite

fervor

fiber

fixt

flavor

fulfil

fulness

gage

gazel (for gazelle)

gelatin

gild (for guild )

gipsy

gloze (for glose)

glycerin

good-by

gram

gript

harbor

harken

heapt

hematin

hiccup

hock (for hough )

homeopathy

homonym (for

homonyme)

honor

humor

husht

hypotenuse (for

hypothenuse)

idolize

imprest (for

impressed )

instil

jail

judgment

kist (for kissed )

labor

lacrimal (for

lachrymal )

lapt

lasht

leapt

legalize

license

licorice

liter

lodgment

lookt

lopt

luster

mama (for

mamma)

maneuver

materialize

meager

medieval

meter

mist (for missed )

miter

mixt

mold

molder

molding

moldy

molt

mullen (for

mullein)

naturalize

neighbor

nipt

niter

ocher

odor

offense

omelet

opprest (for

oppressed )

orthopedic

paleography

paleolithic

paleontology

paleozoic

paraffin

parlor

partizan

past (for passed )

patronize

pedagog

pedobaptist

phenix

phenomenon

pigmy

plow

polyp (for polype)

possest (for

possessed )

practise ( verb

and noun)

prefixt

prenomen

prest (for pressed )

pretense

preterit (for

praeterite)

pretermit (for

praetermit )

primeval

profest (for

professed )

program

prolog

propt

pur (for purr )

quartet

questor (for

quaestor )

quintet

rancor

rapt (for rapped )

raze

recognize

reconnoiter

rigor

rime

ript

rumor

saber

saltpeter

savior

savor

scepter

septet

sepulcher

sextet

silvan

simitar (for

scimitar )

sipt

sithe (for scythe)

skilful

skipt

slipt

smolder

snapt

somber

specter

splendor

stedfast

stept

stopt

strest (for

stressed )

stript

subpena

succor

suffixt

sulfate

sulfur

sumac (for

sumach )

supprest

surprize

synonym (for

synonyme)

tabor

tapt

teazel

tenor

theater

tho

thoro

thorofare

thoroly

thru

thruout

tipt

topt

tost (for tossed )

transgrest

trapt

tript

tumor

valor

vapor

vext (for vexed )

vigor

vizor

wagon

washt

whipt

whisky

wilful

winkt

wisht

wo (for woe)

woful (for woeful )

woolen

wrapt

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

The Adoption of Spellings Such as color, center, traveled, and judgment

As the Standard American Spellings

Some have said that American English now uses spellings such as color, center, defense, check meaning a "bank draft," traveled, and judgment because U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed use of 300 simpler spellings in 1906 which included color, defense, etc.

However, that is not the reason why those spellings became standard in American usage. The "distinctive" American spellings such as color and defense were already the standard American spellings in 1906, and were the spellings already used in all U.S. government documents. These are the spellings which Noah Webster had included as the preferred forms in his dictionaries (the main one published in 1828), and which had become the standard, most commonly used American spellings during the mid-19th century.

In 1864, the U.S. government made spellings such as color the official ones to be used in all government documents.

Why then were these spellings on the list of 300 simpler spellings which Roosevelt issued in 1906? Roosevelt didn稚 come up with the list himself, but was taking a list that had been put together by the Simplified Spelling Board. Of the 300 spellings, about half were spellings such as color and traveled which were already the standard U.S. forms. The other half were variant or reformed spellings. Roosevelt apparently used the entire list instead of, say, selectively choosing just the 150 or so spellings that were variants or reformed spellings. (A short bibliography is given below, and Roosevelt痴 exact reason could not be found in those sources.)

Then we ask, why did the Simplified Spelling Board include spellings that were already the standard forms? No reason could be found in the sources listed below so one can only speculate, but here are two possible reasons. For one, while color, etc. were the standard, commonly-used American spellings in 1906, there were some American publications still using spellings such as colour, centre, defence, cheque, travelled, and judgement. Perhaps color, center, etc. were on the list to encourage those who were using colour, centre, etc. to use color, center, etc. instead. Another possibility is that the Spelling Board thot having many spellings on the list which were the standard, preferred forms might lend additional credence or cachet to the entire list.

Another fact to note is that altho Roosevelt proclaimed that all of the Simplified Spelling Board痴 simpler spellings were to be used in government documents, the U.S. Congress subsequently passed legislation which had the effect of overruling and rescinding this order! Roosevelt痴 order was only fleeting.

Now there are a few of the spellings on the Simplified Spelling Board痴 list which were variant / reformed spellings in 1906 and have since become the standard, preferred American spellings. Research found nine cases: Anaesthetic, anaesthesia, axe, catalogue, despatch, hiccough, programme, sulphur, and sulphate were the standard American spellings in 1906, and today (2001) anesthetic, anesthesia, ax, catalog, dispatch, hiccup, program, sulfur, and sulfate are the standard American spellings.

To what degree the acceptance of these nine spellings can be attributed to Theodore Roosevelt痴 actions is debatable. The changes in these spellings occurred at different times during the 20th century. Programme and sulphur shifted to program and sulfur in American English in the first few decades of the 20th century, but the shifts from axe and catalogue to ax and catalog have come toward the last few decades of the 20th century.

A few references:

H. W. Brands, "T. R.: The Last Romantic" (1997), Basic Books ( Perseus Books), New York, pp. 555-558

Paula Mitchell Marks, "The Three-Hundred Words," American History Illustrated, March 1985, pp. 30-35

H. L. Mencken, "The American Language" (There are many printings of this; 1937, 1977, other years), Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1937 edit.: pp. 380-407; 1977 edit.: pp. 479-497

"Merriam -Webster痴 Dictionary of English Usage" (1989), Merriam-Webster, Inc., Springfield, Massachusetts, pp. 864-866

Henry F. Pringle, "Theodore Roosevelt" (1956, shortened reprint of 1931 edit.), Harcourt, New York, pp. 328-329

Horace E. Scudder, "Noah Webster" (1981, reprint of 1883 edit.), Chelsea House, New York

Ervin C. Shoemaker, "Noah Webster, Pioneer of Learning" (1936), Columbia University Press, New York

Mark Sullivan, "Our Times" Volume 3 (1930), Charles Scribner痴 Sons, New York, pp. 163-190

Abraham Tauber, "Spelling Reform in the United States" (1958), Doctoral dissertation for Columbia University, New York

 

 

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Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst  Director, Institute of Education Sciences, Assistant Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education
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