The Long View: Roosevelt's Spelling Reform

In case you are curious about what changes TR wanted to make to the spelling of English words, here is the list TR sent to his printer; many of the spellings did eventually become standard in American English. Certainly not all, but he seems to have guessed pretty well.

Theodore Roosevelt's List of Simplified Spellings

 

 

 


 

Charles Stillings observed in his directive of September 4, 1906 (see the Letter for bibliographical information) that 153 of the words on the Simplified Spelling Board's proposed list were already preferred by the Government Printing Office. Of the rest, 49 were not preferred but had been used when the authority that ordered the printing requested it. We should note that many of the New Spellings simply canonized American as distinguished from British usage.

Using the spellchecker in the 2003 edition of Word set for American English, the software rejected approximately 106 of the New Spellings. Of these, the largest class were forms like "affixt" and "transgrest." In contrast, the spellchecker rejected 178 of the Old Spellings. Note that, because of the inclusion of variants, there are a few more Old Spellings than New.


 

 

New Spellings

abridgment

accouter

acknowledgment

addrest

adz

affixt

altho

anapest

anemia

anesthesia

anesthetic

antipyrin

antitoxin

apothem

apprize

arbor

archeology

ardor

armor

artizan

assize

ax

bans

bark

behavior

blest

blusht

brazen

brazier

bun

bur

caliber

caliper

candor

carest

catalog

catechize

center

chapt

check

checker

chimera

civilize

clamor

clangor

clapt

claspt

clipt

clue

coeval

color

colter

commixt

comprest

comprize

confest

controller

coquet

criticize

cropt

crost

crusht

cue

curst

cutlas

dactyl

dasht

decalog

defense

demogog

demeanor

deposit

deprest

develop

dieresis

dike

dipt

discust

dispatch

distil

distrest

dolor

domicil

draft

dram

drest

dript

droopt

dropt

dulness

ecumenical

edile

egis

enamor

encyclopedia

endeavor

envelop

Eolian

eon

epaulet

eponym

era

esophagus

esthetic

esthetics

estivate

ether

etiology

exorcize

exprest

fagot

fantasm

fantasy

fantom

favor

favorite

fervor

fiber

fixt

flavor

fulfil

fulness

gage

gazel

gelatin

gild

gipsy

gloze

glycerin

good-by

gram

gript

harbor

harken

heapt

hematin

hiccup

hock

homeopathy

homonym

honor

humor

husht

hypotenuse

idolize

imprest

instil

jail

judgment

kist

labor

lacrimal

lapt

lasht

leapt

legalize

license

licorice

liter

lodgment

lookt

lopt

luster

mama

maneuver

materialize

meager

medieval

meter

mist

miter

mixt

mold

molder

molding

moldy

molt

mullen

naturalize

neighbor

niter

nipt

ocher

odor

offense

omelet

opprest

orthopedic

paleography

paleolithic

paleontology

paleozoic

paraffin

parlor

partizan

past

patronize

pedagog

pedobaptist

phenix

phenomenon

pigmy

plow

polyp

possest

practise, v. & n.

prefixt

prenomen

prest

pretense

preterit

pretermit

primeval

profest

program

prolog

propt

pur

quartet

questor

quintet

rancor

rapt

raze

recognize

reconnoiter

rigor

rime

ript

rumor

saber

saltpeter

savior

savor

scepter

septet

sepulcher

sextet

silvan

simitar

sipt

sithe

skilful

skipt

slipt

smolder

snapt

somber

specter

splendor

stedfast

stept

stopt

strest

stript

subpena

succor

suffixt

sulfate

sulfur

sumac

supprest

surprize

synonym

tabor

tapt

teazel

tenor

theater

tho

thoro

thorofare

thoroly

thru

thruout

tipt

topt

tost

transgrest

trapt

tript

tumor

valor

vapor

vext

vigor

vizor

wagon

washt

whipt

whisky

wilful

winkt

wisht

wo

woful

woolen

wrapt

Old Spellings

abridgement

accoutre

acknowledgement

addressed

adze

affixed

although

anapaest, anapæst

anaemic, anæmia

anaesthesia, anæsthesia

anaesthetic, anæsthetic

antipyrine

antitoxine

apothegm, apophthegm

apprise

arbour

archaeology, archæology

ardour

armour

artisan

assise

axe

banns

barque

behaviour

blessed

blushed

brasen

brasier

bunn

burr

calibre

calliper

candour

caressed

catalogue

catechise

centre

chapped

cheque

chequer

chimaera, chimæra

civilse

clamour

clangour

clapped

clasped

clipped

clew

coaeval, coæval

colour

coulter

commixed

compressed

comprise

confessed

comptroller

coquette

criticise

cropped

crossed

crushed

queue

cursed

cutlass

dactyle

dashed

decalogue

defence

demagogue

demeanour

deposite

depressed

develop

diaeresis, diæresis

dyke

dipped

discussed

despatch

distill

distressed

dolour

domicile

draught

drachm

dressed

dripped

drooped

dropped

dullness

oecumenical, œcumenical

aedile, ædile

aegis, ægis

enamour

encyclopaedia, encyclopædia

endeavour

envelope

Aeolian, æolian

aeon, æon

epaulette

eponyme

aera, æra

oesophagus, œsophagus

aesthetic, æsthetic

aesthetics, æsthetics

aestivate, æstivate

aether, æther

aetiology, ætiology

exorcise

expressed

faggot

phantasm

phantasy

phantom

favour

favourite

fervour

fibre

fixed

flavour

fulfill

fullness

gauge

gazelle

gelatine

guild

gypsy

glose

glycerine

good-bye

gramme

gripped

harbour

hearken

heaped

haematin, hæmatin

hiccough

hough

homoeopathy, homœopathy

homonyme

honour

humour

hushed

hypothenuse

idolise

impressed

instill

gaol

judgement

kissed

labour

lachrymal

lapped

lashed

leaped

legalise

licence

liquorice

litre

lodgement

looked

lopped

lustre

mamma

manœuver, manœuvre

materialise

meagre

mediaeval, mediæval

metre

missed

mitre

mixed

mould

moulder

mouldering

mouldy

moult

mullein

naturalise

neighbour

nitre

nipped

ochre

odour

offence

omelette

oppressed

orthopaedic, orthopædic

palaeography, palæography

palaeolithic, palæolithic

palaeontology, palæontology

palaeozoic, palæozoic

paraffine

parlour

partisan

passed

patronise

pedagogue

paedobaptist, pædobaptist

phoenix, phœnix

phaenomenon, phænomenon

pygmy

plough

polype

possessed

practice

prefixed

praenomen, prænomen

pressed

pretence

preterite, præterite

praetermit, prætermit

primaeval, primæval

professed

programme

prologue

propped

purr

quartette

quaestor, quæstor

quintette

rancour

rapped

rase

recognise

reconnoitre

rigor

rhyme

ripped

rumor

sabre

saltpetre

saviour

savour

sceptre

septette

sepulchre

sextette

sylvan

scimitar, cimeter, etc

sipped

scythe

skillful

skipped

slipped

smoulder

snapped

sombre

spectre

splendour

steadfast

stepped

stopped

stressed

stripped

subpoena, subpœna

succour

suffixed

sulphate

sulphur

sumach

suppressed

surprise

synonyme

tabour

tapped

teasel, teasle, teazle

tenour

theatre

though, tho'

thorough, thoro'

thoroughfare

thoroughly

through, thro', thro

throughout

tipped

topped

tossed

transgressed

trapped

tripped

tumour

valour

vapour

vexed

vigour

visor

waggon

washed

whipped

whiskey

willful

winked

wished

woe

woeful

woollen

wrapped

 


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