1

I always spell it as chanterelle until I bought a box of CHANTRELLE in Whole Foods Market. I looked up my dictionary, and yes, the word should be chanterelle. However, I also noticed that, the word has three syllables as "chan-te-relle", while most of people pronounce it as "chan-trelle" with only two syllables. Some online resources (link) also claim that the two spellings are both correct.

I'm so confused. May anyone tell me which one is correct? Is the spelling CHANTRELLE in Whole Foods market also acceptable?

11
  • 1
    It's originally a French word, and in modern French, it has two syllables, but is spelled chanterelle. – Peter Shor Nov 26 '20 at 2:58
  • 2
    Yes. Three orthographic forms are found: chanterelle, from the 1700s on; chantarelle from the 1800s on, chantrelle, from the 1900s on. Whole Foods will spell it however they like, even if chantrelle is not the most frequent spelling. – JEL Nov 26 '20 at 4:27
  • 1
    @JEL Thanks. I did come from thefreedictionary.com :) It doesn't have chantrelle, and that's the reason I came here to ask. – Frank Mi Nov 26 '20 at 4:45
  • 1
    There's a lot of snottiness about 'correct' spellings flying around ELU. 'Chantrelle' hasn't much general acceptance or currency, but it's not like spelling 'cat' as 'dog', for example. You knew what was meant, and that's really all it takes to communicate, although communicating as well as possible is another story. – JEL Nov 26 '20 at 4:51
  • 1
    Markets are quite relaxed about spellings. I would go with the dictionary. I've just looked at seven or eight famous ones online and they don't mention "chantrelle". One of the first examples of "chantrelle" I found on Google said they were seen on sale "outside a french grogery store." – Old Brixtonian Nov 26 '20 at 4:53
4

A Google Ngram search of the Google Books database for the period 1800–2019 shows that chanterelle (red line) is much the preferred spelling today over chantarelle (blue line) and chantrelle (green line)—and has been for some time:

The preference for chanterelle is actually stronger in published writing than these line plots might suggest because many of the recent matches for chantarelle and chantrelle don't involve mushrooms at all, whereas the vast majority of matches for chanterelle do.

The dominance of chanterelle over the other two spellings (at least in U.S. English) is confirmed by the entries for chanterelle in both Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fifth edition (2010): neither dictionary lists any variant spelling for the word, suggesting that the lexicographers behind these dictionaries think that chantarelle and chantrelle have minimal followings today.

Correct spelling is ultimately a popularity contest, however, not matter of divine right. So if Whole Foods persists in its orthographical preference and manages to draw other influential publishers to its side, we may eventually see chanterelle/chantrelle go the way of catsup/ketchup.

1
  • 1
    More on the history of catsup/ketchup here. – Sven Yargs Nov 26 '20 at 6:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.