If you’re in the midst of choosing a baby name, you’ll want these easily misspelled names to be on your radar. Whether the spelling is inherently confusing to people, or there are just TOO MANY different spelling options, these names trip people up over and over.
Any name can be misspelled
Before you chime in with “well any name can be misspelled!”, let me just say… I know.
My husband has one of the most common, easily recognized names in the English language. It’s John. People still find ways to misspell it.
Sure, there are Jonathans out there that go by Jon, so that is a forgivable mistake. But then there are people who are just easily confused and spell it “Jhon”. Can’t make this stuff up!
So yes, it is true that ANY name will occasionally get misspelled. That will be true as long as there are people in the world who just can’t spell.
That said, not all names are misspelled with the same frequency.
Some will be spelled wrong on occasion, while others will be spelled wrong more often than they’re spelled right.
Does it really matter if people misspell the name?
Yes and no.
It’s not the end of the world to have to correct your name every time people write it. You get used to it and you move on with your life.
But if you are naming a child, you might be interested in avoiding that inconvenience for them.
Or perhaps you are on the fence about a name, and knowing that it often gets misspelled may steer you in a different direction. That’s where this list may come in handy.
Tips to avoid having your child’s name misspelled
In some cases, it’s unavoidable. People can have your name right in front of them (think Facebook, or email) and STILL misspell it. See above re: some people just can’t spell.
But there are some things you can do when choosing a name that will make these errors less likely.
- Choose a name that is known and recognized. You can’t make up a name and then annoyed that people are unsure of how to spell it. If you want to get creative, having to spell it out every time is par for the course.
- If you go with a name that has several spellings, choose the most conventional. Sometimes this is up for debate but typically there is one spelling that is far more common than the rest. For example if you like the name Jordan and don’t want it misspelled, go with Jordan and not Jordyn.
- Avoid names with tons of spelling options. If a name has ten spelling variations, the chances of it being spelled wrong is going to hover around 90%. Read on to find out which names those are!
- Avoid names that don’t sound like they’re spelled. People get really confused by silent letters. Isla is an absolutely beautiful name, but when people hear it they won’t instinctively know to put an “s” in there.
Now, on to the names!
This list of the most misspelled names can be broken into two groups. Names that are misspelled because they are different or difficult to spell, and names that are misspelled because there are many spelling variations.
Frequently Misspelled Names (Hard for people to spell):
Something about that double “a” just really messes with people. You’ll see a lot of “Issac”, which doesn’t actually make sense phonetically.
Again, it’s the string of vowels that make it difficult. There isn’t a common misspelling for it, you just get a lot of “Is….” followed by a blank stare.
A stunningly beautiful girls name, the silent “s” can trip people up. You might see Aila, Iyla, or just get asked repeatedly how to spell it.
This is such a common name, but since its spelling doesn’t exactly reflect its pronunciation it tends to get butchered. Nickolas, Nicholis, and Nikolas may be some mistakes you’ll see. (Some of these are the correct spellings in other languages, which can further complicate the confusion.)
Elijah comes from Hebrew so it has sounds that are somewhat uncommon for English speakers. The spelling makes sense phonetically, but it won’t come naturally to everyone.
Malachi is another Hebrew name that’s a little different for most people because the “chi” is pronounced “kai”. It also has spellings Malachy and Malakai to add to the uncertainty.
This is a tricky one because some people pronounce the X while others say it “Zay-vee-er”. Either way you’re looking at lots of room for error when strangers try to write it.
A super cool uncommon boys name, Joaquin is sure to confuse people who aren’t Spanish speaking. For the record, you say it “wah-KEEN”.
Be honest: the first time you read this name in Harry Potter, you said it wrong.
In fact, I just had to Google how to spell it to make sure I didn’t misspell it in the most misspelled names article!
I get it, it doesn’t look like sheh-VHAN, but that’s what it is. Did you know it’s actually the Irish Gaelic female version of John?
It’s a French name and different than what we’re used to. If you choose Yvonne for your child, recognize that they will always need to spell it out for people.
Most Misspelled Names (Many spelling variations)
Yes, this is my name. And the misspellings I’ve been getting on my Starbucks cups are the inspiration for this post. (Caitland??? Really? Am I my own country now?)
Caitlin arguably has the most spelling variations of any name in the English language.
In fact, I bet I can rattle off 15 spellings without even having to pause: Katelin, Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Kaitlynn, Katelyn, Katelynn, Kaytlin, Kaytlyn, Kaytelin, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Caitlynn, Catelin, Catelyn, Catelynn, Caytlin, Caytlyn. And that’s not even close to all of them.
Katie has similar issues to its sister name, Katelin (or is it Katelyn?)
It’s a very cute name but the number of possible spellings is a bit daunting. Katie would be the most common, but there’s also the accepted Katy and a host of other creative possibilities: Caitie, Catie, Caty, Kaitie, Kaitee, KT and more.
This one is a longer name with MANY places for people to make mistakes. There are also a host of possible spellings, includng McKenzie, Mackenzy, Mackynzie, McKenzey, Makenzie, etc.
Given the extreme popularity of this name in the early 2000s, you would think it’s one of the easiest names to spell. But all the variations have left people confused and prone to misspelling it. In addition to Aiden and Aidan, you will also find it spelled Aaden, Aden, Aidyn, and Ayden.
Note these variations will hold true for the other -ayden names like Jayden/Jaiden and Kayden/Caiden.
Another very cute name that simply has too many options. Whichever option you choose, people will still try to spell it one of the others ways. Kayleigh, Kailee, Kaley, Kaileigh, Caylee, and Cayley are just some of the possibilities.
When I was a kid, all the Ashleys were spelled “Ashley”, but now you will also see Ashlee, Ashlie, and Ashleigh.
There is definitely no agreement on this one. Carrie, Carey, Karrie, Kerry, and Kari are all popular spellings.
The Welsh girls name Megan has lead to tons of different spellings, making it often misspelled. There is really no way to know if someone is Megan, Meagan, Meghan, Meaghan, or Megann.
Just like its nickname Katie, Katherine is going to confuse people because we’ve all seen so many different versions. Catherine, Kathryn, and Cathryn to name a few.
This trending baby name is growing in popularity, but the spelling variations can be confusing. The most common spelling is Everly, but alternate spellings Everlee and Everleigh are popping up.
It seems like a straightforward boys name, but with three “normal” options, it’s easy to mix up Connor, Conor, and Conner.
A very pretty underused girl name, Michaela can also be found as Micaela, Mikayla, or even Makayla.
Gender neutral names are so in right now, but there is no consensus on whether it should be spelled Payton or Petyon (or even Peighton or Paityn!)
A lovely name that can easily be misspelled, Julianna is alternately spelled Juliana, or the Italian version Giuliana.
A nice soft, feminine name, Lila can also be spelled Lyla, Lylah or Lilah.
50/50 names are names that have two known and accepted spellings of roughly equal popularity.
In the case of these names, the person has to make others aware of which spelling they use and hope the person remembers correctly. They will be mistaken with some frequency, but likely not enough to dissuade someone from choosing the name.
What to do if you’re unsure about a name spelling
If you are unsure about which spelling to go with (or just want to see how the average person will spell a name), try this trick. Say the name out loud to 5 or more friends and have them write down what they think the name is. If most or all come up with the same spelling, that’s the one to go with. If you get handed five different spellings, the name is going to be a problem for people to spell.
Moms tell their misspelled name stories
I love the old classic names, and I named my youngest daughter “Eleanor” which is the classic spelling. I’ve had multiple people spell it Ellanor even after I’ve corrected them multiple times. They’ve said it’s not a big deal, but I feel like it is! A person’s name is such a huge part of them that I feel like taking the time to learn to spell and pronounce it right is important.
My son’s name is Jackson but we call him Jack. I am constantly asked if we spell his name as Jax instead of Jack. Or we always get is his name spelled Jaxon or even had it spelled at Jacksyn! Seems pretty straightforward but people also have a lot of ways they want to try and manipulate it.
My daughter’s name is Charlotte. People always spell it Charolette. I thought it was a pretty common name!
My daughter is named Zoe and people always spell it wrong. Usually Zoey or Zoi. It drives me nuts. I’ve even had people question me, “Are you sure that’s how you spell it?” Um, yes, I’m pretty sure I know how to spell my daughters name.
Isaiah is very often confused with Isaac. Also I’ve seen it spelled with all combination of vowels. We got a paper from school once where his name was written Isaiaiah.
My son Heath is always called Keith. I have had to repeat over and over that it is “Heath with an H.” That really confused someone and they said “well yea, Keith ends with an H. How else would you spell it? Do you mean Kh?”
I’d love to hear your name misspelling stories!
Leave me a comment!