Tunable or Tuneable – Which Is Correct?

Do you wonder if your instrument is “tunable” or “tuneable”? Many people fear making a fool of themselves by spelling something incorrectly, so it’s a fair question.

In this post, we’ll answer this question, explain the differences between the two, and tell you which one to use.

Tunable or Tuneable – Which Is Correct?

“Tunable” and “tuneable” are both correct depending on the dialect. In American English, “tunable” is the more common spelling. But in British English, “tuneable” is the preferred spelling. As a result, either one is acceptable depending on where you are or who you are writing for.

Tunable or Tuneable

Because English is a worldwide language, it developed in various ways. British English and American English have different spellings for certain words. “Tunable” is one of those words with alternate spellings, dependent on location and dialect.

This means there is no objectively correct way to spell “tunable”. There is only a more common way to spell it depending on where you are from or who you are talking to.

Both of these examples are correct:

  • A violin is a tunable instrument.
  • I don’t think a drum is tuneable.

American English online spell checkers will mark “tuneable” as incorrect. But that is just because that spelling is not common in American English. Simply put, spell it as “tunable” in America, and “tuneable” in the UK.

However, there are some other details to consider. Continue reading if you’re interested in learning more.


“Tunable” is the common spelling of this word in American English. However, even in America, the spelling used to be “tuneable”. Over the years, that changed, and the “e” is not included today.

However, “tuneable” is incorrect in modern American English. That spelling is only correct in British English. That said, if you were to spell it the British way, most people wouldn’t say anything about it. After all, they don’t know  your background.

But if you want to be as technically correct for American English as possible, use “tunable”. That is how Merriam-Webster spells it.

The definition is, “capable of being tuned”. This definition primarily describes instruments:

  • String instruments are tunable.
  • A maraca is not a tunable instrument.

Use “tunable” if you’re worried about correctness. It is the correct choice in most situations.


“Tuneable” is the preferred British way of spelling the word, though you won’t find this spelling in many official dictionaries. The alternate spelling is simply more popular nowadays.

This alternate spelling is not official, but it is still used quite often. It means the same thing as “tunable”, since it is just an alternate spelling. That definition is “able to be tuned”.

Some people consider these examples correct:

  • Most instruments are tuneable, but not all of them.
  • Even drums are tuneable, though many don’t know that.

That said, this spelling is not the most common. Unless you are speaking or writing to a British person, it’s better to spell it “tunable”. At the very least, computers won’t try to correct that spelling.


“Tunable” and “tuneable” are alternate spellings of the same word. Tunable is more popular and common, especially in the United States. Tuneable is not used as frequently but is more popular in British English.

You should use “tunable” most of the time. That’s because it is the most common spelling. Most dictionaries list that spelling for the word.