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[Archived] Abseiling Or Absailing? Which Is Correct?

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An interesting discussion arose this lunch time, which we were unable to resolve by use of a variety of Spelling Checkers or dictionaries either.

The question is: Is it correct to use the word "absailing" to descibe the activity of descending down the outside of a tall buiding or a rock face whatever, by using a rope that is secured around your chest region and feeding the rope through a system of constraining pulleys to contol your own descent rate. OR should the term be "abseiling " instead?

Some spell checkers spell it with an "e" and some with an "a". Similarly the printed dictionaries do the same, so which is right? Or are they both right? What do you people think?

I must admit that I had always heard it and seen it spelled with the "a" in it viz: "absailing", but I must admit now that I may be wrong. (Along with lots of others I would think as well)

The best agreement we could all reach was that the word MAY have originated from German and that "abseiling" is therefore correct and the word has been corrupted by popular useage to "absailing"

Anybody got any definite evidence as to which is correct?

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I would be pretty confident that it's abseil. That's always how I thought it was spelled. I checked in the Oxford Concise dictionary and it only has abseil in. If you search absail on google it asks you if you meant abseil. I suspect that absail has just come around from people incorrectly spelling it and it being picked up a bit because it looks more right in English. But as it's from German I would be pretty sure it's abseil.

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