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Why is the word "welcome" spelled with one "l"? Somewhere in the answers I found a good explanation of the meaning of " welcome".

Example: "You have done well to come to me; I am pleased to do it"

According to this meaning, "welcome" should be spelled with two L

Where in the history did the change take place?

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  • Google "etymology welcome".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 5, 2016 at 23:35
  • 1
    There's also welfare, but I can't think of any others with a reduced spelling for well. Jan 5, 2016 at 23:53
  • @FumbleFingers: look at the answer to the question I linked to above; it lists both "welcome" and "welfare."
    – herisson
    Jan 6, 2016 at 3:17
  • The question linked by @sumelic does actually help to answer this question. In both American and British usages, words normally spelled -ll usually drop the second l when used as prefixes or suffixes, for example full→useful, handful; all→almighty, altogether; well→welfare, welcome;...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 6, 2016 at 8:32

1 Answer 1

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According to the OED the double "l" became single with usage but it does not identify a precise period. I think it is an example of crasis, that is the reduction of the number of letters "l" from two to one as they are no longer useful for the pronunciation of the new term (welcome).

Welcome:

  • Originally OE. wilcuma (f. wil-, will- will, desire, pleasure + cuma comer, guest) = OHG. willicomo, MHG. and MLG. willekome, -kume (whence OF. wilecome), with subsequent alteration of the first element to wel- well adv. , and identification of the second with the imperative or infinitive of the verb come, under the influence of OF. bien venu, bien veigniez, L. bene venisti, bene venias, etc., and possibly of the Scandinavians.

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