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While writing about a factory that produces pipes, I needed to refer to how the metal was melted and put into molds/moulds. Which one is it, and is there a correct spelling or are both acceptable?

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7 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

"mold" is the US spelling, "mould" is the British English spelling. No other difference.

Same applies for other meanings of mould/mold, i.e the fungus that grows on rotting substances, for example.

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Mould is to mold as colour is to color.

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The Online Etymology Dictionary has "mould: see mold(2)", where 2 is the sense for fungus, however, mould is the accepted spelling in British English for all senses. Likewise mold in American English.

The three senses have interesting derivations, and I was not aware of the third one before now: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=mold

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2  
John Brown's body lies a-mold'ring in the grave. –  GEdgar Aug 12 '11 at 21:51
    
@GEdgar ah! John Brown's body lies a-crumbling in the grave. I previously thought "a-mold'ring" meant there was fungus growing on it. –  John Ferguson Aug 17 '11 at 15:10
    
Sense 3 is presumably the one used in leaf mould which is more common than *mould*(3) on its own. It's also called "leaf mulch" even though it can be used as potting compost as well as mulch, presumably to avoid the connotations of *mould*(2). Apparently leaf mould is actually made by fungi (unlike normal compost which is mainly bacteria), giving a nice is coincidental link between 2 of the meanings –  Chris H Nov 28 '13 at 14:49
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I was of the belief that mold is what you pour your Jell-o into, and mould was what might grow on your bread.

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Me too, but the dictionary says otherwise! You learn something new every day. –  Pitarou Jun 30 '12 at 9:12
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There is also a town called Mold (like the American spelling) in Wales, UK. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold,_Flintshire

http://www.itraveluk.co.uk/content/752.html

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There seems some need to distinguish a fungus from a thing you pour jello into. I like "mold" for the former and "mould" for the latter and some use the words that way. Dictionaries just codify what's being done. So, why not choose the usage that makes sense and know the dictionary will eventually catch up?

James (Jim) Minard PhD

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If you're pouring Jell'O into a mould/mold it would be mold, because if it was "mould" you would be pouring JELLY into it. QED

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