Definitely or Definately: What is the correct spelling?

Most of us have been confused at some point of time how to spell definitely. Or is it definately? It is one of the most common mistake committed by the speakers of English who often tend to follow the pronunciation style and end up writing the wrong spelling.

Which is correct: Definitely or Definately?

Despite the widespread use of the word as definately, it is not correct. The correct spelling is D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y. Not with an a but with an ‘i’ as in finite.

The Urban Dictionary has a separate entry for definately, which it defines as: ‘Idiot-speak for “definitely”. It is one of the most common misspellings found on the Internet’. A study shows that many children, some as old as 14, are not able to spell the basic words and often this habit sticks around with them, and hence they continue to use the misspelt words even as adults. They tend to use alternatives for the word definitely substituting it with “definatly”, ” definetly”, or best of all “defiantly”.

The word definitely was formed from Latin definitus, the past participle of the verb definire ‘to bind, limit’. The word had come into the English vocabulary in the 16th century to mean ‘in a definite manner, precisely’.

An online survey was conducted to measure the blunder the population is committing while using definitely. This is what the survey proposes.

  • definetly – 13.53%
  • definitly – 7.79%
  • defenetly – 3.68%
  • defently – 3.11%
  • definetely – 2.74%
  • defintely – 2.37%
  • definatley – 1.58%
  • deffinitly – 1.53%
  • Other – 63.67%

Definitely continues to be the topmost misspelt word in the English language. So make sure to use the correct one from this point on if you have been spelling it wrongly till now.

Here are the top 10 misspelt words (wrong spelling in brackets)

  • Definitely (Definately)
  • Sacrilegious (Sacreligious)
  • Indict (Indite)
  • Manoeuvre (Maneouvre)
  • Bureaucracy (Beaurocracy)
  • Broccoli (Brocolli)
  • Phlegm (Phleghm)
  • Prejudice (Predjudice)
  • Consensus (Conscensus)
  • Unnecessary (Unecessary)

So, if you are not sure about the spelling, it would be better to check it up on the internet or a dictionary, before you commit a sacrilegious mistake of misspelling a common word. You will be surprised to know that you might have been spelling it wrongly since your childhood and it will nothing but like a big revelation to you.