(WETM) – National Doughnut Day has a lot of people on the internet asking what the proper spelling of the tasty treat really is: doughnut or donut?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary goes by donut, saying the usage of the variation was first encountered in the mid-20th century.
The emergence of brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Miter Donuts also helped fuel the shortened version of the word. The dictionary site explained their rationale behind sticking with donut over doughnut.
In truth they and all who’ve accepted the variant were following in a tradition of phonetic-based spelling reform also embraced by the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster. And when we consider the variety of things the letter combination ough does in English – tough, though, through, drought, bought, cough – surely it’s not wholly irrational to welcome the simplification that donut offers.
Noah Webster (from whose dictionaries ours are directly descended) included simplified spellings in his dictionaries because he believed in spelling reform, but we have no similar ideological rationale for including variant spellings. Our inclusion of donut is based solely on evidence of the variant in a variety of published, edited texts. It is at this point a fully accepted spelling, though rumor has it the Associated Press still prefers doughnut.Merriam-Webster
According to The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2015, the AP goes by doughnut.
National Doughnut (or Donut) Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday in June and has been a tradition since WWI.