Sunday Summary 6.5.16Lately the internet has been all abuzz about KVIIIlyn.


In Roman numerals, VIII is the number eight. Get it? KVIIIlyn = K8lyn = Kaitlyn.

Yup. Kaitlyn.

Let’s be clear: we haven’t seen a birth certificate confirming that the baby is named KVIIIlyn. Or Kviiilyn. It’s possible it’s a hoax.

But when I first saw the story, I’ll admit that I didn’t get it. Kavellyn? Kavalyn? Kaveelyn? And then it hit me.

I can get behind a different spelling. I’ll take Isobel over Isabelle, and I harbor a secret affection for Alicyn. And sometimes different spellings aren’t what we think. Years ago, I didn’t recognize Deaglan as an authentic Irish name, rather than a twist on Declan.

But I do think there’s a line. I’m not sure it’s my job to draw the line. Even if it were, I’m sure it would be a hard, bright line.

My general thought goes like this: phonetic transparency is a good thing. For names without one standard spelling – be it Catherine or Kaitlyn – it’s reasonable to imagine that you’ll have to spell the name all of the time. So there’s little harm in using Catharine or Katelynne, especially if you have a reason for the uncommon spelling.

If it takes some effort to pronounce the name, but it’s traditional, well – go for it, but know that not everyone will love explaining how to pronounce Aoife or Ngozi, and some people will never get it right, even when they try.

But a common name with a too clever spelling is a burden. I once saw Eighmei suggested on a baby names forum. It took me a while to realize it was an outrageous respelling of Amy. To date, it’s probably the most extreme name spelling I’ve seen, though I’ve raised an eyebrow at Jru and Alyviiah, too.

So if baby Kviiilyn is really going through life with a Roman numeral inserted in the middle of her name? Oh dear. I wish her and excellent sense of humor. And hopefully a rock solid middle name in case she grows weary of explaining.

On to the name news:

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. My rule for re-spelling names is that you can spell them any way you want, and be prepared to tell everyone the spelling each time, but you mustn’t have to EXPLAIN the spelling.

    So no re-spells where you have to explain that the G in Gnaythan is silent, or that the apostrophe in A’bbagale doesn’t mean anything and is just decoration, or that the letters in the middle of KVIIIlyn are actually Roman numerals.

    Also I can’t stand names where a recognised word, title or country is spelled differently, because I feel that there might be several ways to spell Isabel, but there’s only one way to spell Maverick or India. However that’s just personal preference, because I know some people feel that if you spell them differently they automatically become a “name” not a “word”. I do think my preference will make things easier though as it cuts down on the need for explanations.

    1. I totally agree with recognized words/title/places should be spelled correctly! I don’t love a name like Jersey, but if you use it, for goodness sakes don’t spell it Jersi.

      There are a dozen reasons why Kviiitlyn is bad. To me, the biggest is that you can’t combine letters and numbers and expect it to be a word that means anything. They’re placing a roman numeral, which is a translated number… I’m trying to think of how to describe this. Like, I can’t slap some Chinese letter symbols in the middle of my American alphabet name. It’s two different languages smashed together. I feel like the letters + roman numerals is similar, it’s two “languages”. Ugh.

  2. A compromise with Montgomery could be Montmorency, which still has the Monty issue but not the Montgomery Burns issue.