Definitely vs. Definately: Mastering the Tricky Spelling Choice

By Strategically AI. Reviewed by Rebecca Hey.
Updated November 3, 2023
4 minute read
Generate ready-to-rank articles
Strategically writes and edits long-form content that ranks, helping you get found online.

When it comes to spelling, even the best of us can get a little tripped up. One word that often leaves people scratching their heads is "definitely" or is it "definately"? The confusion is real, but fear not! In this article, we will definitively clear up this common spelling conundrum and provide you with a comprehensive guide on using the correct form. So, let's dive right in and put an end to the 'definitely' vs. 'definately' debate once and for all.

Definitely vs. Definately: The Common Mix-Up

We've all been there, typing out a sentence, and suddenly our fingers betray us, leaving us with a word that looks like it belongs in a different language. "Definitely" and "definately" are two words that often get tangled up in this spelling web. But which one is correct? Let's find out.

The Correct Spelling: Definitely

The correct spelling is "definitely". This word means without a doubt, unquestionably, or certainly. It's an essential word in the English language and is used to emphasize the certainty of a statement.

Common Misspellings and Confusions

The incorrect spelling, "definately," is a common mistake made by many. Some may also confuse it with similar-sounding words like "defiantly" or "definitely." These mix-ups can lead to confusion in written communication.

A Handy Memory Trick

To remember the correct spelling, think of the word "finite" inside "definitely." The word "finite" means limited or bounded, and when you add "de-" (meaning "not") to it, you get "definitely," indicating something without limits or doubts.

The Origin of "Definitely"

The word "definitely" has its roots in Latin, derived from the word "definitus," which means "defined" or "limited." Over time, it evolved into its current form, carrying the sense of certainty and decisiveness.

How to Avoid Spelling Mistakes

Mistakes happen to the best of us, but there are ways to minimize them. Here are a few tips:

  • Proofread: Always proofread your writing to catch spelling errors.
  • Use Spell Check: Most word processing software includes a spell-check feature.
  • Practice: Improve your spelling by reading more and writing regularly.

Frequently Made Mistakes with 'Definitely'

Let's take a closer look at some common mistakes made with the word "definitely":

  • Definatly: This is a misspelled version often seen.
  • Defiantly: While similar in pronunciation, it has a completely different meaning.
  • Defiantley: Another common typo, but it's incorrect.

Frequently Made Mistakes with 'Definately'

Now, let's explore some of the common mistakes made with the incorrect spelling, "definately":

  • Definantly: A variation seen from time to time.
  • Definetly: A misspelled version that still resembles the incorrect form.
  • Definatly: Another frequent misspelling.

Conclusion: Use 'Definitely' Confidently

In conclusion, when it comes to the spelling of this word, the correct choice is "definitely." It's a word that adds certainty and clarity to your communication. Remember the handy memory trick with "finite," and you'll be spelling it correctly without any hesitation.

FAQs: Answering Your Spelling Questions

Now, let's address some common questions about the spelling of "definitely."

Is 'definately' ever correct?

No, "definately" is not a correct spelling in standard English. The correct spelling is "definitely."

Why do people often misspell 'definitely'?

People often misspell "definitely" due to its unique pronunciation and the similarity to other words. It's essential to practice and pay attention to spelling to avoid this mistake.

Can I use 'definately' as a playful variation?

While some may use it playfully or informally in online chats or texts, it is not considered correct in formal writing. It's best to stick with "definitely" for formal communication.

Are there other tricky words like 'definitely'?

Yes, English is full of tricky words and homophones that can trip you up. Some examples include "their," "they're," and "there," or "your" and "you're." Learning these distinctions can improve your overall spelling and grammar.

How can I improve my spelling skills?

Improving your spelling skills takes practice and dedication. Read regularly, use spell-check tools, and pay attention to your mistakes. Over time, your spelling will improve.

In conclusion, the spelling of "definitely" is straightforward once you remember the correct form, "definitely." Avoid common misspellings like "definately," and you'll communicate with confidence. Keep practicing your spelling skills, and you'll become a spelling pro in no time!

Table of Contents
Photo of the author
Rebecca Hey
Founder of, we’ve created over 10 million words of impactful content, driving organic traffic growth for more than 300 businesses.
Create better content
Access the power of AI and the top 1% of human writers to craft, edit and optimise content that Google wants to rank.
Learn more

Like this article? Spread the word

Share via

Finity has a collection of latest 2,500 jobs to join next companies.