‘Fulfill' or 'Fulfil': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 22, 2022

Wondering whether to spell it ‘fulfill’ or ‘fulfil’? And what is the difference between these two words? We’ll talk more about that in this article, plus you’ll learn how to use the correct one in a sentence.

Don’t feel like waiting for the answer? Here’s the quick one.

‘Fulfill’ and ‘fulfill’ are both correct spellings of the word. However, ‘fulfil’ is the British and Australian English spelling of the word. ‘Fulfill’ is how we spell it in American English.

‘Fulfil’ vs. ‘Fulfill’ – What’s the Difference?

As we briefly touched on above, the difference between these two words is that the version with one ‘l’ at the end is the UK English spelling of the word, while the spelling with two ‘l’s’ is the American English spelling of the word.

They both mean the exact same thing, so if you’re suddenly writing for a new audience, you can swap one out for the other quickly and easily. Just use Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace feature.

Spelling Tips: ‘Fulfill’ or ‘Fulfil’

How you spell the word will depend on who your audience is. If you’re writing for an American audience, you will spell the word with two ‘l’s’ at the end. But if you’re writing for a UK audience or an Australian audience, you’d spell it with just one ‘l’ at the end.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Fulfill’ and ‘Fulfil’

The Merriam Webster definition of the word is: “to put into effect: execute,” “to meet the requirements of (a business order),” “to measure up to: satisfy,” “to bring to an end,” “to develop the full potentialities of,” “to convert into reality,” and “to make full: fill.”

Some synonyms of the word include:

  • Answer
  • Fill
  • Redeem
  • Complete
  • Keep
  • Satisfy
  • Comply (with)
  • Meet

British vs. American English

In the English language, there are a lot of words that have both an American English spelling and a British English spelling.

Take a look at some examples:

How to Use ‘Fulfill’ and ‘Fulfil’ in a Sentence

Now that you know what the word means let’s look at how to use it in a sentence correctly.

  • We have a ton of orders to fulfill for Valentine’s Day.
  • She hasn’t fulfilled her duties as mayor since the election.
  • Where are all the orders we haven’t fulfilled yet?
  • She fulfilled her promise to lower the tax rate.
  • My mom failed to fulfill her obligations and lost her spot on the board.
  • This program wasn’t meant to fulfill all your basic needs. It’s just a supplement.

Final Thoughts on ‘Fulfill’ and ‘Fulfil’ 

To recap, we learned that ‘fulfill’ is the American English spelling of the word and that ‘fulfil’ is the UK English spelling of the word. Both spellings of the word are correct and mean the exact same thing, so you can always swap one out for the other if your audience suddenly changes.

If you get mixed up, you can always come back here and refresh your memory.

We’ve also got a whole library of content dedicated to explaining confusing words people often encounter while learning the English language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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