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Carolling vs. Caroling: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Carolling and caroling are both verbs describing the act of singing Christmas songs, with "carolling" being the British spelling and "caroling" the American.
Carolling vs. Caroling

Key Differences

Carolling is the British English spelling of the verb that describes the activity of singing Christmas songs or hymns, especially in a group. This form of the word is consistent with other British English spellings that often retain a double 'l' before adding suffixes, such as travelling or cancelling.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Caroling is the American English variant of the same verb. In American English, the spelling conventions typically call for a single 'l' before adding -ing or -ed to a word, such as traveling or canceling. This rule applies even when the final syllable of the base word is stressed and contains a short vowel.
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Nov 08, 2023
When discussing the tradition of singing festive songs during the Christmas season, carolling is the term you would encounter in literature or conversation within the UK or countries using British spelling conventions. For example, one might say, “The neighbourhood children went carolling from door to door.”
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Conversely, caroling is the term used in the United States for the same activity. It is the version of the word that Americans are familiar with, and it will be the one most commonly seen in American publications and heard in everyday conversation, as in, “They spent Christmas Eve caroling in the downtown area.”
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Both carolling and caroling refer to the same activity, and the choice of spelling depends on the variant of English being used. Neither spelling is incorrect; they are simply tailored to fit different linguistic audiences. The context in which they are used is identical, as both are associated with the joyous tradition of singing during the holiday season.
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Comparison Chart

Spelling

Double 'l' before adding -ing
Single 'l' before adding -ing
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Usage

Used in UK, Canada, Australia, etc.
Used in the United States
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Linguistic Preference

British English
American English
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Associated Publications

Found in British publications
Found in American publications
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Example Word Variants

Travelling, fuelling, modelling
Traveling, fueling, modeling
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Carolling and Caroling Definitions

Carolling

Participating in the social activity of door-to-door singing during Christmas.
They’re going carolling to raise money for charity.
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Nov 08, 2023

Caroling

Taking part in communal Christmas song performances.
Caroling outside the mall attracted a crowd of shoppers.
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Carolling

Singing Christmas songs in a festive manner.
The choir spent the evening carolling in the town square.
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Nov 08, 2023

Caroling

American English term for singing festive songs traditionally.
Every Christmas, our family goes caroling with friends.
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Carolling

Performing carols as a form of celebratory entertainment.
The sound of carolling filled the air throughout December.
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Caroling

Moving from place to place singing seasonal hymns.
The caroling group collected donations for the food bank.
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Carolling

The British spelling for the expression of holiday spirit through song.
Our office is organising a carolling event next week.
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Nov 08, 2023

Caroling

The act of singing joyful Christmas songs.
They went caroling in the neighborhood to spread some holiday cheer.
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Carolling

A song of praise or joy, especially for Christmas.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

Entertaining others by singing Christmas carols.
After caroling, everyone gathered for hot chocolate.
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Nov 08, 2023

Carolling

An old round dance often accompanied by singing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

A song of praise or joy, especially for Christmas.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

To sing in a loud, joyous manner.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

An old round dance often accompanied by singing.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

To go from house to house singing Christmas songs.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

To sing in a loud, joyous manner.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

To celebrate in or as if in song
Caroling the victory.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

To go from house to house singing Christmas songs.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

To sing loudly and joyously.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

To celebrate in or as if in song
Caroling the victory.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

Present participle of carol
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

To sing loudly and joyously.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

A singing of carols.
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Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

A singing of carols.
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Oct 19, 2023

Carolling

Engaging in the act of performing carols publicly.
Carolling under the stars has become our annual tradition.
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Nov 08, 2023

Caroling

A song of joy or devotion; a singing, as of carols.
Such heavenly notes and carolings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Caroling

Singing joyful religious songs (especially at Christmas)
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Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Does carolling have a non-Christmas meaning?

Not usually; it mainly relates to Christmas carols.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Are carolling and caroling interchangeable?

Yes, but depends on the form of English being used.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is carolling a group activity?

It often is, but can also be done solo.
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Nov 08, 2023

Can caroling be a performance for an audience?

Yes, caroling can be both participatory and performative.
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Can I use carolling in American English?

It's understood but not standard; caroling is preferred.
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Nov 08, 2023

Does carolling require musical accompaniment?

Not necessarily, it can be a cappella.
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Can carolling be done door-to-door?

Yes, that's a traditional approach to carolling.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are carolling and caroling pronounced differently?

No, they are pronounced the same way.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is caroling only associated with Christmas?

Yes, it typically refers to singing Christmas songs.
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Do carolling events raise money for charity?

They can, and often do during the holiday season.
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Is there a world record for caroling?

There are records for the largest groups caroling.
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Are carolling lyrics always religious?

No, some carols are secular in nature.
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Nov 08, 2023

Do carolling and caroling have the same historical origins?

Yes, both come from the Old French word "carole."
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Nov 08, 2023

Can caroling be a solo activity?

It's possible, but caroling is traditionally communal.
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Nov 08, 2023

Does caroling typically involve costumes?

Sometimes, participants may wear festive attire.
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Is caroling only done outdoors?

No, it can take place indoors or outdoors.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is caroling exclusively a nighttime activity?

No, caroling can occur at any time of day.
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Nov 08, 2023

Is caroling still a popular tradition?

Yes, many people still enjoy caroling during the holidays.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are there carolling competitions?

While less common, carolling competitions do exist.
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Nov 08, 2023

Are there specific songs for carolling?

Traditional Christmas carols are often used for carolling.
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Nov 08, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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