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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 5, February 4, 2007, Article 25

ON THE SPELLING OF JAIL/GAOL/GOAL

Martin Purdy writes: "The modern French spelling "ge˘le" might help
to clarify both the origin and the "correct" spelling a little.  "Goal"
in English with this particular meaning would nowadays be considered
an error, pure and simple.  My Concise Oxford says that "Gaol" is in
official UK use, while both Gaol and Jail are in colloquial use, and
Jail is the standard US form."

David F. Fanning writes: "Regarding the question of the spelling of
"gaol" as "goal" on some Conder tokens, here is what the Oxford
English Dictionary says:

'It is difficult to say whether the form goal(e), common, alike in
official and general use, from the 16th to the 18th c., was merely
an erroneous spelling of gaol, after this had itself become an
archaism, or was phonetic.'

If the OED doesn't know, you can be sure it's a stumper."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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