Hello what is the correct British English spelling of the word 'gripped' or 'gript'?

According to Dictionary.com:

verb 1. a past participle and simple past tense of grip.

verb (used without object), gripped or gript, gripping.

e.g. The boat now run ‘pon the top ov me; I was gript by the scruff ov the neck, and dragg’d into it.
Humours of Irish Life

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    Since they both would be pronounced the same way (unlike "learned" and "learnt"), there's no reason not to spell it "gripped". Look it up in a dictionary. If it doesn't give a past tense, then it's regular and thus "gripped". Aug 30, 2015 at 19:28
  • Thank you for your response Peter.. Could/would you inform me please; which is the correct/exact spelling is it 'gripped' or is it 'gript'
    Aug 30, 2015 at 19:32
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    There are lots of respectable and useful dictionaries available on the internet. Dictionary.com is apparently not one. Aug 30, 2015 at 19:44
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    Apologies Mari-Lou A this is the first time I have used this site and my first post.. I don't know 'one' had to include any research.. I did though; look up both 'gripped' & 'gript', before posting my question; however I just didn't get a conclusive answer. I am I am severely dyslexic and I wanted to be pedantic & obtain the correct spelling. I understand for future postings and questions, that I should imclude any research I have done prior ot posting my question. Sorry if I have misused the site
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:37
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    @Mari-Lou A.. I was too long winded in the first response.. Thank you very much, for going to the all the time & immense trouble to guide me through my initial (teething)/clumsy) problems/attempts! As I explained yesterday I am a novice to this site... well any forum site really.. I WILL get it right! Enjoy the remainder of your day. Thanks again. Kind regards form a somewhat cold & damp England!! Corinne
    Aug 31, 2015 at 17:58

2 Answers 2


In Australian English, which for the most part is similar to British English, I have never come across “gript”. “Gripped” is the only form of the word that I have ever come across. I suspect that the former is probably old English, and no longer in use, or looking at the usage example, possibly a “dialect spelling”.

  • Thank you Paul for your clear and concise explanation. I will 'go' with 'gripped' from now onwards. Appreciate it.
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:22

According to Middle English Dictionary, Volume 4 By Hans Kurath, gript was one of the spellings all those hundreds of years ago.

Beyond that we can look at Google ngram: gript,gripped. From the graph we can see that the 'gripped' spelling took off from 1850 onwards.

  • Thank you Chasly for your trouble. I have now 'grasped it' that 'gripped' is the correct spelling. I appreciate the trouble you went to. Corinne
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:24
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    In poetry from the period of Shakespeare, Milton, etc you will also find "gripp'd". The reason was that "-ed" at the end of a word was counted as a separate syllable in the rhythm of the poem, in the same way that "silent" vowels are still counted as syllables in French poetry. The apostrophe made it clear that the word should be pronounced with only one syllable not two. In Scots, these words were often spelled "-it" not "-ed". For example "He grippit Nelly hard and fast" in robertburns.org/works/74.shtml. In that poem, two syllables are intended, to fit the rhythm of the verse.
    – alephzero
    Aug 30, 2015 at 21:41
  • Good point. In fact around Shakespeare's time many such endings were changing and spelling was far from standardised. Aug 30, 2015 at 21:45
  • +1 Just by the way, Kurath's been superseded by the online MED, also from Michigan. Aug 30, 2015 at 22:01
  • @alephzero Just to be clear, Scots, although very similar to English and mostly mutually comprehensible, is actually a separate language. There's nothing wrong with using it as an example of the same phenomenon in a different (and very closely related) language as long as the reader is not left with the impression that Scots is a variant of English. Since Scots is not well-known I just thought I point that out.
    – CJ Dennis
    Aug 31, 2015 at 5:15

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