Forty vs. fourty

The number 40 is spelled forty. This is true in all main varieties of modern English. Fourty is a surprisingly common misspelling that appears most often in the spelling of compound numbers such as 41 (misspelled fourty-one), 42, and so on—for example:

Fourty-five percent of Australians strongly agreed with the value proposition and two percent strongly disagreed. []

Fourty-nine stocks depreciated in price during the week, lower than the 58 of the preceding week. [Vanguard]

In a decade we’ll scream to the heavens asking why we paid fourty dollars for a dozen cupcakes, the same way people question their sanity after a flock of seagulls’ haircut. [Washington Examiner]

Fourty-two percent of voters want no cuts in programs for the poor. A year ago, that number was 51 percent. []


The misspelling is understandable, as the first syllable of the word sounds the same as four and the first syllable in fourteen, and there’s no good reason that forty should be different. It is so merely by convention. And though forty has been standard for a few centuries, fourty appeared much more often several centuries ago, before many of our modern spellings were settled.

Fortieth likewise does not have a u. 


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  1. yeah, it’s a pity(((( for example, in the school of my friend’s son, teacher teaches them spelling the word forty- FOURTY. SHE DOESN’T EVEN CONFESSES IT((( After all, what can we say about our education.((((

    • Correction: “She doesn’t even confess it,” not “confesses.”
      I agree, what of our education nowadays.

      • For the record, I am but in 8th grade and I already have 2 invitations to colleges. I am a “Straight – A” student at a private (say what you will about it being “snobby”) school, and I am taking three 11th grade classes. Now, what were you saying about “education nowadays”?

    • So… you’re complaining about education and spelling and yet you said “confesses it”? OK then… And also, you might want to use ” ) ” to close a parentheses. ” ( ) ”
      Please, correct your own grammar before you go complaining about someone else’s.

  2. Thank you very much, that was beneficial for me. :)

  3. Rachelle @ caramelizelife says:

    Very helpful, I spelled it correctly and then was editing and thought to misspell it, glad I checked!

  4. I had no idea that 40 was spelled as forty. Its great to have the Internet on your side. :-)

  5. Now my mind is scrambling to remember which way I’ve spelled it in the past!

  6. The hell with convention. Reasonably, “forty” to me means fort-like, as likened to a military base. If the word “four” is spelt with a “u,” then all subsequent integer names should follow. One person played the world early on in history by pushing the “fort” trend. Now, I’m going to be the one to foil the trend.

    • nadzsac says:

      Spelt is a grain. Perhaps you meant to spell “spelled”.
      Now fourty lashes for you.

    • Ziegler45314 says:

      Perhaps at some point there was some consistency to it (maybe before those pesky French Fried Vikings showed up), but you’ll find none prior to ‘sixty’.

      One -> Ten
      Two -> Twenty
      Three -> Thirty
      Four -> Forty
      Five -> Fifty

      Twoty, Threety, Fourty, Fivty not only looks odd, it sounds silly, but good luck in your quest. :-)

      • Brian Rana says:

        You can’t compare thirty with forty. Thirty obviously changes “three” to “thir”. You have to compare forty to other numbers that keep the native integer PRONUNCIATION (sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety)… So yes, it does make sense for forty to be spelled with a ‘u’.

      • Lars Kristan says:

        Here’s some consistency prior to sixty, in thirty and fifty:

        Third, Thirty
        Fourth, Forty
        Fifth, Fifty

        So, Forth / Forty or Fourth / Fourty ?

        Now forty looks silly, unless one got used to it, of course.

    • I’m with you, Anoymous! :D I like fourty… but I buckled and decided to teach my ESL students the standard way…. grrr… how come convention always gets its way??? :P

  7. Johnny Heedless says:

    Dang, I’ve been misspelling checks for years. Thank you for this post!

  8. Whitey Joe Young says:

    yea, but one is normal and the other a freak show.

  9. Very interesting

  10. David A. Carlson says:

    ” And though forty has been standard for a few centuries, fourty appeared much more often several centuries ago, before many of our modern spellings were settled.”
    This would mean that “fourty” is not so much a misspelling as an anachronism.

  11. I was fairly sure it was forty, but needed to cross-reference and this really helped me a lot. Sure enough; I was looking at the spelling of forty-one.

  12. Norbert M says:

    it took me fourty seven years to learn the correct spelling forty :). Thank you

  13. Faisal Riaz says:

    Thanks for sharing beneficial knowledge.

  14. All this forty/fourty what was wrong with four score and seven which made a nation…….

  15. He who smelt it, dealt it.

  16. Don’t call someone stupid if they didnt know this… call them retarded.

  17. GrumpyGuy says:

    Since “Fourty” was the correct spelling previously, and it makes more sense than “Forty”, it seems apparent that the present convention (trend) is incorrect. So, I am hereby changing back to “Fourty” and everyone else that writes in English is invited to join me.

  18. One pro player says:


  19. One pro player says:



  20. One pro player says:


  21. Michelle Logan says:

    My 7 year old spelled it fourty and I had to show him proof from Google…and here we are…

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