Spelling Wars

Photo: My Name is Trouble by Keith Bell/Shutterstock

My husband and I battled fiercely over my oldest daughter’s name. Even seven years later, he hasn’t quite let it rest, and still jabs me from time to time over it. And the lamest part was, it wasn’t even a battle over what name she’d actually get—it was just over how to spell it.


We decided to give both of our daughters family names, choosing their first and middle names to honor some of our favorite relatives. For our oldest, we chose Katharine after my husband’s grandmother, and Caroline as a middle name to honor my mother, Carol.


But my husband’s grandmother spelled her name Kathryn. I wanted a more traditional spelling, and pushed for Catherine. We battled furiously as our deadline approached—and as the days grew short before we’d have to put a name to our baby, neither of us would budge.


Finally, we ended the deadlock with a compromise spelling: Katharine, like one of our favorite actresses, Katharine Hepburn. Neither of us was perfectly happy with it, but we both felt that we at least got something—he got his “K,” while I got the “ine” ending I wanted.


The funniest part? When we mentioned it to Mike’s grandmother one day, we found out that officially, her name actually was Catherine, but she had changed it to Kathryn when she turned 18 because she preferred the modern spelling. So it really didn’t matter which of us had won—either way, we would have done her right.


I’m imagining that with so much creativity out there with name spellings, there are plenty of you out there with similar stories—Aidan or Ayden? Sofia or Sophia? Zoe or Zoey?


How did you resolve your spelling spat? Or are you still battling it out over your baby’s name?

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  1. by Annette

    On May 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

    We named our first child, Elizabeth and my husband, my family and I had different spelling version and/or nicknames for her.. Eight years later, our daughter prefers Lizzey which is not how any of us spells it, lol. That’s life!

  2. by CaliCat

    On May 30, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I wanted to name our son William because that is my middle name, but my wife was afraid he would get nicknamed Bill, Willy, Billy, or something else. I never really understood this argument and in the end our son was named William (Will for short). My wife also did not like Will at first but came to like it.

    We are pregnant with our second and we have a girl’s name that we really liked back with our first, but now my wife doesn’t like how it is spelled. Here we go again. :)

  3. by Sadia

    On May 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

    We named one of our twin daughters after my father-in-law, Jesse. (Actually, he’s Jesus ‘hey Zeus’ but everyone calls him Jesse.)

    First, my husband wanted to name her Jessie, but I convince him that people would assume it was short for Jessica. His middle name is the letter E, so he could relate. We named her Jessica, but then bickered over how to spell her nickname Jessie. To me, Jesse without the I is a male name, but my husband was insistent. Even though she now (aged 6) spells it Jessie, he continues to spell it like his father’s name, Jesse.