‘Labelled' or ' Labeled': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on December 16, 2022

Should you spell the word ‘labelled’ or ‘labeled’? And what’s the difference between the two? We’ll cover that in this article, plus teach you how to use the word in a sentence correctly.

But the quick answer is that ‘labelled’ is the British English spelling of the word, and ‘labeled’ is the American English spelling of the word. They both mean the same thing.

‘Labeled’ vs. ‘Labelled’ – What’s the Difference?

As you just learned, ‘labeled’ is the American English spelling of the word, and ‘labelled’ is the British English spelling of the word. So, if you're writing for an American audience, use the former.

‘Labeled’ or ‘Labelled’ – Which is Correct?

Since you know that both words mean the same thing and that ‘labeled’ is the American English spelling of the word and ‘labelled’ is the British English spelling of the word, you know that they’re both correct.

Let’s quickly define the word so we can get a better understanding of how to use it in a sentence.

Definition and Meaning

The present tense of ‘labelled’ or ‘labeled’ is ‘label.’ So, that is the word we’ll be defining.

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word ‘label’ is: “a slip (as of paper or cloth) inscribed and affixed to something for identification or description,” “written or printed matter accompanying an article to furnish identification or other information,” “a descriptive or identifying word or phrase: such as epithet,” “a word or phrase used with a dictionary definition to provide additional information,” and “usually radioactive isotope used in labeling.”

It’s also defined as: “a brand of commercial recordings issued under a usually trademarked name,” “a company issuing such recordings,” “recording so issued,” and “the brand name of a retail store selling clothing, a clothing manufacturer, or a fashion designer,” “an adhesive stamp (as for postage or revenue),” “a heraldic charge that consists of a narrow horizontal band with usually three pendants,” and “band, fillet, specifically: one attached to a document to hold an appended seal.”

As a verb, it means: “to affix a label to,” “to describe or designate with or as if with a label,” and “to distinguish (an element or atom) by using an isotope distinctive in some manner (as in mass or radioactivity),” and “to distinguish (something, such as a compound or cell) by introducing a traceable constituent (such as a dye or labeled atom).”

How to Use the Word in a Sentence

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

Take a look at a few examples:

  • This email is labeled ‘priority.’ I should probably open it now.
  • That container should’ve been labeled. What if someone accidentally drank it?
  • A lot of manga is mistakenly labeled anime.
  • I labeled all of my son’s belongings for his first day of kindergarten.
  • Every single pair of her husband’s socks and underwear are labeled.
  • Make sure all of the jewelry is clearly labeled, so we don’t get anything mixed up.
  • She was labeled a shrew by the whole town after her mental breakdown.

Final Thoughts on ‘Labelled’ and ‘Labeled’

To recap, we learned that the words ‘labelled’ and ‘labeled’ are both okay to use. But for an American audience, drop the last ‘l’ in the word. For a British audience, use both ‘l’s.’

The English language can be tricky, and it’s understandable if you occasionally get stuck on some things. Even native English speakers get stuck sometimes.

But we’ve got a whole library of content on confusing words and phrases you can check out anytime. Also, feel free to bookmark this page so you can come back whenever you need to.

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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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