Home Made or Homemade?

The compound word “homemade” is commonly used to describe food, drinks, gifts, crafts, and other items that are made in the home rather than store-bought or mass-produced. But some style guides and dictionaries list the word as both “homemade” and “home-made.” So which spelling is correct: home made or homemade?

One Word or Hyphenated Version

“Homemade” is generally accepted as the standard one-word spelling in both American and British English. Major style guides like the AP Stylebook, MLA Style Manual, and The Chicago Manual of Style all recommend spelling it as one word with no hyphen.

However, some dictionaries list “home-made” as an alternative, hyphenated spelling. And data from Google Ngram shows that while “homemade” is significantly more common overall, “home-made” has maintained a small but steady presence in published works:

So in terms of everyday usage, homemade as one word is considered the conventional spelling. But the hyphenated version “home-made” can still be found, especially in British English.

UK and US Spelling Conventions

There are some subtle regional spelling differences between UK and US English to note as well. American English tends to favor closed compound words without hyphens in most cases. So “homemade” as one word is standard in the US.

British English is a bit more varied, often using hyphens in compound words, at least initially. So while “homemade” is common in the UK too, “home-made” maintains more prevalence there than in the US.

Major style guides on both sides of the Atlantic follow this pattern. The US-based AP Style recommends “homemade” as the standard spelling for publications. But the UK’s Oxford Style Guide lists both “homemade” and “home-made” as acceptable, with a slight preference for the hyphenated form.

So in summary:

  • US English: “Homemade” (one word) is standard
  • UK English: Both “homemade” and “home-made” are common

When to Use “Home Made” vs “Homemade”

Because both spellings continue to persist, writers may wonder when it’s appropriate to use each version. Here are some reliable guidelines:

Use “Homemade” When:

  • Following AP Style recommendations
  • Writing for a US audience
  • The compound acts as a single adjective before a noun (e.g. “homemade bread”)

Use “Home-Made” When:

  • Following Oxford Style recommendations
  • Writing for a UK audience
  • The term appears after a noun (e.g. “bread that is home-made“)

Over time, “homemade” may become the dominant spelling in all cases. But for now, both versions can still be considered acceptable in the right context.

Scenario Examples

To see the difference, here are some example sentences using “home made” and “homemade” appropriately:

  • For dinner, we had homemade pizza with fresh vegetables and cheese I grated myself.
  • We sold home-made cookies, lemonade, and other treats at our neighborhood bake sale fundraiser.
  • I prefer to make homemade pasta like ravioli and linguine rather than buying dried pasta from the store.
  • My mom’s home-made apple pie is way better than anything you can order at a restaurant.
  • I gave my friend homemade gifts like scarves and candles I knitted and scented myself.
  • My grandmother was well-known around town for her home-made jams and preserves.

In the first, third and fifth sentences, “homemade” is used as an adjective directly before a noun, following standard US spelling convention.

In the second, fourth and sixth sentences, “home-made” follows a noun as a hyphenated compound term, per UK spelling rules.

So while subtle, there is a distinction in usage between “home made” and homemade in certain cases. Being aware of the conventions can help writers use the most appropriate spelling.

When in Doubt, Check a Dictionary

Because compound word spellings can vary between US and UK English, it’s always a good idea to double check dictionary entries when in doubt.

Most online dictionaries like Merriam-Webster and Oxford list both versions of “home made” and provide definitions. So referring to reputable dictionary sources can clarify regional spelling differences.

Over time, one-word “homemade” may become the standard everywhere. But for now, there are still situations where the hyphenated form “home-made” would be more appropriate, especially in British English.

So consider your audience and check dictionary entries when unsure. With a little awareness, you can determine when to use each spelling correctly.

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