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How Do You Spell “Fulfill”? (Fulfill or Fulfil?)

Fulfill or fulfil?

Fulfil and fulfill are two spellings of the verb meaning to “to do or achieve what was hoped for or expected”, or “succeed in developing one’s abilities or qualities”.

Fulfill vs. fulfil

The spelling varies on whether you’re writing using UK or US English:

  • UK English spells “fulfil” with a single L at the end.

  • US English spells “fulfill” with a double L.

Word forms of fulfil/fulfill

The related word forms both use a double L; ‘fulfiling’ and ‘fulfiled’ are incorrect spellings and not recognized words in English.

  • I’m not fulfilled by my career.

  • We must find things in life we find fulfilling.

Meaning of fulfill

To fulfill is a transitive verb that can mean to “put something into effect”; e.g., to execute something (perhaps a plan or a strategy). Such as, “he fulfilled his pledge to cut taxes“.

Fulfill can also mean to satisfy the requirements of something, or meet expectations; e.g., “she hasn’t yet fulfilled the requirements needed to graduate“.

Also, to develop or reach your potential, as in “he has a lot of talent, but he hasn’t really fulfilled his potential“. In this sense, fulfil is similar to realize, achieve or reach.

Words like fulfill/fulfil (UK vs. US English)

Other words that vary in spelling between US and UK English follow a similar pattern as fulfil and fulfill; however, typically American spelling omits an additional letter rather than UK spelling.

Verbs such as cancel, travel, label and model all use a double L according to UK English rules (e.g., cancelled, modelled, labelled, travelled). US English prefers the single L and spells them as canceled, modeled, labeled and traveled.

UK EnglishUS English
travelling, travelledtraveling, travelled
modelling, modelledmodeling, modeled
labelling, labelledlabeling, labeled

‘Fulfil’ / ‘fulfill’, used in sentences

He amply fulfilled the weight of expectation that they had placed on him.

The building is still fulfilling its original purpose admirably.

The movie doesn’t quite fulfil its promise.

Turkey is a market that has never quite fulfilled its potential.

Fulfil your dreams with a new career.

“Fulfil”/ “fulfill”, used in the media

Educational prerequisites often include obtaining a master’s degree to fulfill the 150 semester-hour requirement.

—Bryce Welker, Miami Herald, 28 Feb. 2024

By ignoring their needs and prioritizing political posturing over practical solutions, Gov. Evers is failing to fulfill his promise to return the surplus to Wisconsin’s families and seniors.

—Jessie Opoien, Journal Sentinel, 1 Mar. 2024

Anyone drawn to Dune: Part 2 fulfills a freakish commercial obligation, like doing cinematic detention.

—Armond White, National Review, 1 Mar. 2024

“Fulfil”/”fulfill”, synonyms

  • achieve
  • realize
  • accomplish
  • reach
  • complete
  • succeed

Origin of fulfil

From Etymonline on fulfil:

Old English fullfyllan “fill up” (a room, a ship, etc.), “make full; take the place of (something),” from full (adj.), here perhaps with a sense of “completion” + fyllan (see fill (v.)

Learn more about US English vs. UK English

Commonly misused wordsUK English vs. US English
former vs. latterburned or burnt?
bear with vs. bare withcanceled or cancelled?
breathe or breathfavorite vs. favourite
compliment vs. complementsmelled or smelt?
effect vs. affectgray or grey?
elude or alludefavor vs. favour
it’s or itsanalyze or analyse?


  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of fulfil.” Online Etymology Dictionary Accessed 13 February, 2024.
  2. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, fulfil.

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