“Omelet or omelette” – what’s the correct spelling of this popular breakfast food? Surprisingly, they are both correct, but it depends on your location. Omelet is the American English spelling of the word. However, the correct spelling in the United Kingdom is “omelette.”
What Is an Omelet?
An omelet is a popular breakfast dish made by beating the eggs and pouring and cooking the egg mixture in a non-stick pan or skillet.
You can make an omelet in a variety of ways. Typically, a plain omelet is made using one or two eggs, a dash of milk, and a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. However, Americans may add some meats and vegetables to the dish – bacon, tomato, peppers, onions, mushrooms, herbs, and more. Many cooks also add cheese to their omelets.
The American spelling of the word omelet appeared during Colonial times in the United States, around the seventeenth century. This spelling is not American in origin, however. Most grammar experts believe that early Americans shortened the British word “omelette” by removing the -te. The British word “omelette” originated from the word “amelette.”
For Americans, the shorter spelling stuck. Today, even the AP stylebook recommends using the spelling “omelet.”
Examples of the American version of the word omelet:
- Most restaurants that serve breakfast have omelets on the menu.
- My favorite omelet features ham and cheese.
- The Western-style omelet includes not only bacon but also a variety of spicy peppers.
- The omelet I had at the Waffle House was delicious and filling.
- The American-style omelet is usually folded in half for a ‘half-moon” shape.
- Mom cooked omelets for all her overnight guests.
- Another name for the Western omelet is the Denver omelet.
- Those looking for extra protein in their morning meal should eat an omelet.
What Is an Omelette?
The word “omelette” means the same thing as the American word “omelet;” it’s simply the British spelling of the same word.
The pronunciation of the two words is similar. However, many need help with choosing the correct spelling.
The British spelling of the word “omelette” actually originated in France. The word evolved over time; prior spellings include “aumelete,” “amelette,” “alemette,” and “aumelette.”
Most language experts believe that this is a derivation of the Latin word “lamella,” which means “a thin layer, plate, or film.”
American Omelets vs. French Omelettes: What’s the Difference?
The definition of omelet and “omelette” is the same; while linguistic experts in America call for the use of “omelet” in the United States, in other countries, including France, the word “omelette” is correct.
However, there is one main difference between how American omelets and French “omelettes” are made.
While in America, most cooks brown the outside of the omelet, the French do not. A classic French “omelette” is more yellow (no browning), smooth on the outside, and somewhat runny on the inside.
American-style omelets can have fillings of your choice. You can add vegetables like spinach and parsley, meat, and cheddar cheese. In France, however, if there are any fillers in the “omelette,” they are few.
A French “omelette” is more about the egg itself, not any ingredients to fill the interior of the omelette.
Another distinctive feature of the “omelette” is the shape of the dish. In America, omelet lovers expect the half-moon shape folded over once while in the skillet. In France, the “omelette” is either an oval shape or more of a rolled shape.
One word to describe the French “omelette” is “delicate.”
Trick to Remembering Which Spelling to Use
So, how do writers know when to use “omelet” or “omelette”?
Typically, the best way to remember when to use the correct spelling of omelet is to remember the audience that will read your work.
If you’re in the United States, use the spelling “omelet.” However, if readers are from the United Kingdom or elsewhere in Europe, you should use the spelling “omelette.”
In deciding which word to use, it’s all about location. If you are in the United States, you’ll want to use the spelling “omelet” as it’s the accepted spelling in America. However, in British English, use the spelling “omelette.”