I don't remember which spelling I was told, but always use install. I recently discovered the expression a new instalment and my dictionary indicates the spelling installment in the US, which led me to check whether instal also exists. Surprisingly to me install and instal are listed equivalent and without reference to a specific country.

I'm curious about the use of each spelling in British and American English. By the way, my Firefox spelling dictionary redlines the single l version as I write this question.


Instal is chiefly British variant of install. Merriam Webster defines that.

They both mean same (and are pronounced in the same way)- to make (a machine, a service, etc.) ready to be used in a certain place. Other meanings, uses and examples as mentioned here.

  • Thanks. I was confused by such examples: bcfc.co.uk/news/article/20140212-safestanding-1354602.aspx where the British variant is not used while the writer is in the UK. – mins Mar 12 '14 at 7:26
  • We see lot of American words in India where UK English is followed. e.g. organize instead of organise. This has to do with softwares(auto-correct) defaulted to US-English. – SparKot Mar 12 '14 at 7:44
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    @SparKotॐ the plural of software is generally software. Though softwares is coming into existence. Again, due to immense use of this words by Indians? – Maulik V Mar 12 '14 at 7:45
  • mass dictates indeed. – SparKot Mar 12 '14 at 7:56
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    As a native British English speaker, I'd like to point out however, that in 23 years of life, ~22 years of speaking, ~15 years of software use and ~8 years as a software developer, I have never come across the word instal leading me to think that its usage is very low. – James Webster Mar 24 '14 at 8:43

I would concur with Maulik V that "instal" is the British variant for the American "install", just as "instalment", "instil" and "fulfil" are the British variants for the American "installment", "instill", and "fulfill" (as defined by the Reader's Digest's UNIVERSAL DICTIONARY).

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    Please don't add "thanks", "I agree", or "this answer worked for me" as answers. Invest some time in the site and you will gain sufficient privileges to upvote answers you like, which is the English Language Learners way of saying thank you. – Nathan Tuggy Oct 30 '16 at 0:46

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