Rogue Words from A to Z: The Cruelty of Crullers

A to Z Letter CHave you ever been certain you knew the right way to spell a word, and then found out you were wrong?

For A-Z, I was asked about the proper spelling of my favourite type of doughnut: cruller or crueller?

My first reaction was to say, “Crueller, of course!” I have been eating honey cruellers (sometimes know as French cruellers) at my local doughnut shop since forever, and the shop always spells it as crueller.

honey crueller or cruller

Here’s the proof, in case you doubt me…

Imagine my surprise when I looked this up online and found that the dictionaries spell this marvelous mouthful as cruller.

Merriam-Webster tells us that cruller comes from the Dutch word krulle, a twisted cake, from krul, which means curly.  I then went on to find out that Dutch immigrants were involved in the creation of the modern American doughnut.

If cruller is correct, I thought, why do I keep seeing cruellers in some (but not all) of the doughnut shops?

The easiest explanation is that Homer Simpson has been at the time-travelling toaster again and keeps changing history. In one universe it’s cruller, in another it’s crueller, and in a third it’s simply known as rain. Too bad Homer (and the rest of us) didn’t get to stay in that last universe. Those Simpsons writers are just plain cruel.


“It’s raining again.”

I’ve since found a better explanation. It turns out that crueller is the proper spelling in Pennsylvania Dutch country. They even have types of cruellers I’ve never heard of, like a coconut crueller. Mmmm…

So it turns out that both of these spellings are correct. Now I can focus on enjoying the sweet taste.


Image of crueller is mine; Rain of donuts is from The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V story “Time and Punishment”

This post is dedicated to Jaso, a fellow lover of cruellers.

What’s your favourite doughnut? And do you spell it as doughnut or donut?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I will demolish the dastardly letter D…


© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015