Pastime Or Pasttime – How To Spell It Correctly

03.03.24 Spelling mistakes Time to read: 3min

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Accurate spelling is essential in academic writing, as misspellings can cause confusion and hinder the accurate communication of ideas. Many spelling mistakes stem from the differences in spelling variations across languages. A frequent error involves the misuse of the word “pastime,” which is often spelled “pasttime.” This article will cover everything you need to understand about this common spelling challenge.

The correct spelling of “pastime”

The word “pastime” functions as a noun, and has only one correct way of spelling. It will usually be the subject or direct object of a sentence. It derives from the verb “to pass time,” which means “to pass time doing something.” From this definition, we can deduce that “pastime” means an activity that you do because you think it is enjoyable or interesting, or, in short, a hobby.

Correct spelling


Incorrect spelling


Pastime” is written correctly without a second “t.” The correct spelling adheres to the verb “to pass time,” which comes from the French expression “passe-temps.” Basically, what you need to remember is the combination of pass and time, which you then shorten to “pastime.”

The common misspelling “pasttime” may occur due to phonetic confusion with the phrase “past time.” When something is past time, it means it is past due, and it should’ve been done before now. In this phrase, “past” is acting as an adjective, depicting “time.”

When hyphenated, “past-time” refers to a time that has elapsed or something from a previous era. In a general sense, a hyphen is only needed in a specific context for clarity or modification of a noun. If you’re aiming for an adjective form related to something from a past period, “past-era” might be more appropriate, however; “past time” is more common.


  • Playing chess is his favorite pastime on weekends.
  • Gardening is a cherished pastime that allows me to connect with nature and find peace.
  • Their favorite pastime is reading historical novels.

Mnemonic for spelling “pastime”

Despite the difficult spelling of “pastime,” there is a helpful mnemonic to remember the correct spelling.

Note: A useful tip to remember the correct shortened spelling is that pass + time = pastime. 

Or the sentences:

  • You pass time with your pastime.
  • It is past time for you to do your pastime.


Pastimes with only one “t” means hobby, whereas with “past time” in the singular, you’re talking about an era that has passed or that something is past due.

Both of those are correct, however, as a verb, “to pass time” is the correct choice since “pastime” is a noun.

If you are talking about a time that has passed, you can use a hyphen, but it’s less common. If you’re talking about a hobby, then there is no need for a hyphen.

“My pastime” means “my hobby.” It is an activity that you enjoy and like to pass time with.

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