M. J. Maddox, PhD is the American English Doctor.  
 

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Peel or Peal?

I just came across these instructions for baking a Cornish hen:

Then pull out the cookie sheets, then put on an oven mitt, an[d] carefully peal the foil down on each bird, be very careful as steam will come out. Peal the foil down to expose as much of the bird as possible, but do not remove it. Then place the birds back in the oven for another 15 minutes, this will brown them up a bit.

Once would be a typo; twice probably indicates that the writer has confused peal and peel.

The appropriate spelling in the context of removing foil from the bird is peel:

To pare off or strip away (the skin of a fruit or vegetable, or the bark of a tree); to remove (the natural outer layer of something)

17th century English bell ringers

17th century English bell ringers

The spelling peal has to do with a loud sound:

intr. To sound forth in a peal; to resound.
trans. To sound (something) forth in a peal, to produce (a sound, etc.) with loud reverberation; to utter or proclaim loudly and sonorously.

Church bells peal when people marry. The word can be used as either a verb or a noun.

The connotation of peal is usually one of happiness. People explode in peals of laughter. When church bells are rung for a funeral, they are said to toll.

2 comments to Peel or Peal?

  • Raymona,
    I have a notebook full of grammatical errors collected from listening to the local news at my house. Indeed, I have notebooks and scraps of paper all over the place scribbled with notes from TV and movie watching. I’m in the process of organizing them into a feature for the AmEngDr.

  • raymona anderson

    If I may, I’d like to blow off a bit of steam about one of local television stations whose typists use the word “peaks” to tell us there will be “peeks” of sunshine. Last time I saw the blurb someone had corrected the spelling, but I saw the wrong word choice over several days running. Where do these people go to school?

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