Why unusual spellings of common names are so popular right now.

There are some baby names out there that make us stop and think: how on earth did someone come up with that?

Followed shortly by: how on earth do you even pronounce that?

It’s certainly not uncommon for new parents to want to name their child something they won’t be forced to share with another child at school – we can probably all remember a handful of Toms, Sams or Sarahs differentiated by the first initial of their last name.

Celebrities are big advocates of it, and a recent Reddit thread exposed us to more than a few monikers we’d never heard of in our lives.

User ‘mnpharmer’ posted a snippet of an expansive list compiled by a hospital, and the names ranged from the fairly common Lena and Lisa, to the wholly unique Munyneart, Ja’Len, Kimqo and Iysam.

Well, now a study has found that names will likely get ever harder to pronounce as new parents are increasingly opting for unusual spellings of traditional names.

Reddit users reveal the worst baby names they’ve ever heard. Post continues after video…

A team from the University of Edinburgh analysed the first and middle names of approximately 22 million people born in England and Wales between 1838 and 2014, along with data from the UK Office for National Statistics between 1996 and 2016.

The report, which was published last month on Plos One, identified the most notable trend as “increased forename diversity”, which means there’s more unique names than ever before.


But researchers suggest that ‘novel coinages’ (derivatives of existing names) are likely a reason for the rise in unique names – and predict twists on traditional spelling of common names will only increase as people run out of ideas for names previously unheard of.

A recent Mumsnet post regarding an “incorrectly spelled” baby name sums up the dilemma behind this growing trend:

“A colleague has recently announced the birth of ‘Phoebe’ on Facebook and has since referred to the baby as ‘Pheobe’ several times,” the woman wrote. “Would I be awful to gently suggest the correct spelling or just hope it’s picked up on when they register the birth?”

Opinions were divided, with many suggesting she had merely chosen to spell the name differently than the norm.

“My name is misspelled – Micheala instead of Michaela,” a commenter explained. “I was forever correcting people on spelling AND pronunciation.”

Another woman had found herself in a similar situation as the original poster – and had said something.

“I had a message a few years ago from a ‘mum at playgroup’ friend. She’d called her daughter Francis. I replied and said, ‘I thought you were having a girl?! Congrats.’ About two hours later I got a message announcing their daughter Frances’s birth. She’s thanked me since then.”

Other examples we’ve seen of parents mixing up the spelling of baby names include:

Sophie spelt Sofi.

Tylah instead of Tyler.

Or Charleigh as a twist on Charlie.

In the quest for unique names recently, we’ve also seen many new parents favour names from the past, such as Agatha, Bernadette, Cornelius and Ferdinand.

Which could mean the rare names of the future will be the Toms, Sams and Sarahs of today.

…But they’ll probably be spelled with silent letters ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.