I'm seeing an either/or in most dictionaries I've checked with regard to duffel and duffle when used to refer to coats and bags. It seems to come from a Belgian town spelled Duffel.

What's your take? I'd like to be definitive.

3 Answers 3


Interesting. According to Wikipedia both spellings are correct

A duffel bag (or duffle bag, kit bag, gym bag) is a large cylindrical bag made of cloth (or other fabric) with a drawstring closure at the top.

On the other hand Google NGram Google NGram shows, that first spelling is more common in the last couple of decades. So just to be safe I'd use the duffel bag spelling.

P.S. Funny thing is that there are both Duffel Bags and Duffle Bag company and both are producing... that same bags :)

  • 1
    However, the duffel coat,duffle coat Ngram shows duffle coat is first and more popular. If you switch to the American English corpus, duffle coat is now more popular.
    – Hugo
    Nov 14, 2011 at 11:17
  • Thanks - I like Duffel. It's the original, and the populace prefers it. Decision made.
    – Sally
    Nov 14, 2011 at 14:04
  • I’ve always thought of ‘duffle’ as the BrEng spelling, but in the same year, 1957, Colin MacInnes had ‘duffel’ and Muriel Spark had ‘duffle’. Nov 14, 2011 at 16:57

CALD and OALD list both spellings as possible with duffel as the primary entry. Etmyonline says of duffle

1670s, from Du. duffel, from Duffel, town in Brabant where the cloth was originally sold. Duffel bag is Amer.Eng., first recorded 1917 in a letter of e e cummings.

It probably started off with duffel and later duffle came to be used as well.


I've always used "duffel" for the coat & "duffle" for the bag.

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