Label Or Lable? What’s The Difference?

A common misspelling in English is between the words label and lable. This is because of the way the word is pronounced, which leads to confusion. The pronunciation makes label sound like ‘lable’. However, the correct spelling is always label, not lable.

Label is the only way to spell label. In both British and American English, label is spelled with an el ending, not a le. There are no situations where misspelling label as lable is correct. 

The rest of this article will cover why label is correct, and why lable is incorrect.

Why Label Is Correct

Label can be used as a noun or a verb. It’s a common word since it refers to clothing items, applications, and giving people names. As a noun, a label describes what it is attached to. For example, a label on a package telling you the details of what the package is meant for.

As a verb, you can label someone or something. Take the package example: the package is labeled as yours. That’s how you can use label as a verb. Or, you can use it to describe someone, such as calling a masculine girl a ‘tomboy’. Labels are like stereotypes.

Those are the correct ways to use label, and the reason why it’s spelled with an el instead of a le is because it comes from the Anglo-French word, labelle. Labelle means ribbon, so the correct spelling for label became an el instead of a le despite the pronunciation.

Why Lable Is Incorrect

The misspell of label is common because when you say label, it sounds like another word ending in le. For example, table. Table and label sound very similar. If you listen closely to the ending, you can hear no difference between them. However, they’re spelled differently.

If you put lable into a document with a spell checker, you’ll get the red squiggly line telling you it’s incorrect. Lable has always been an incorrect spelling whether you’re using American or British English. The only difference is that in British English, labeled is spelled as labelled.

The reason why is because of the origin of the word. As stated previously, label comes from the Anglo-French word labelle. That’s why we spell it a bit differently than how it’s pronounced. It’s a very common mistake, but be sure not to make this typo on any formal documents.