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Hi,

I have always been sure that "doubling" the L is only characteristic of BrEng, e.g.

canceled (AmEng) vs cancelled (BrEng)

traveler (AmEng) vs traveller (BrEng), and many many more such examples :-)

How come there is 'distil' (single 'L') in BrEng and 'distill' (double 'l') in AmEng?

Are there any other examples similar to the pair distil/distill? ( I hope my question makes sense... )

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vlivefdistil/distill

enrol/enroll

CJ

Comments  
vlivefHow come there is 'distil' (single 'L') in BrEng and 'distill' (double 'l') in AmEng?

The rule about doubling the "l" with a suffix or not is a very loose one. Sometimes it doesn't even matter in US English. You ask why "distill" can be spelled both ways as a root word, and nobody knows. I looked at the OED, and there are citations for "distill" from as early as the seventeenth century in England, and then it settles down to "distil" later. The Latin word has a double "l". My guess is that people saw "distilled" and imagined that the root word followed the same pattern as other words in "-l". "Distilled" would not have been "distiled" because that would be pronounced dis-TILED.

vlivefAre there any other examples similar to the pair distil/distill?

fulfil/fulfill

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.