It only takes one look at the Social Security Administration’s Top 1,000 Baby Names to make it clear: A lot of today’s parents are picking various versions of the same baby names. But how do they differentiate their little Aidan or Mason from the crowd? By optiong for a different — trendy, alternative — version of the name spelling. All of these spelling variations listed below appeared on the most recent SSA list. In each case, we’ve listed the spelling that is currently most popular, plus so many iterations you’re bound to find a favorite.
Add, omit or change vowels
A, E, I, O, U (and sometimes Y) are fun to play with. Mix them up or swap them out and enjoy a brand-new version of a traditional name.
Occasionally, you’ll find examples of first-letter modifications (Ian to Ean and Emmanuel to Immanuel) but, unlike Cs and Ks, most vowel changes occur within the name.
On the list of Most Popular Baby Boy Names, there are 28 combined spellings of Aiden, Brayden, Jayden and Kaden!
- Aiden: Aaden, Adan, Aden, Aidan, Aidyn, Aydan, Ayden, Aydin
- Brayden: Braden, Bradyn, Braeden, Braiden, Braydon
- Jayden: Jaden, Jadon, Jaeden, Jaiden, Jaidyn, Jaydon
- Kaden: Caden, Caiden, Kaeden, Kaiden, Kayden
Girl names are great for vowel-swapping, too:
- Adalyn: Adalynn, Addilyn, Adelyn, Adelynn
- Raina: Rayna, Reyna
- Reagan: Raegan, Regan
- Zoey: Zoe, Zoie
For boy baby names, the vowels most frequently changed are those near the end of a name: Brandon becomes Branden and Weston becomes Westin.
- Brendan: Brenden, Brendon
- Damian: Damien, Damion
- Grayson: Graysen, Greyson
- Gunner: Gunnar
- Jordan: Jorden, Jordyn
- Landon: Landen, Landyn
- Mason: Maison, Masen, Mayson
- Tristan: Tristen, Tristian, Tristin, Triston, Trystan
- Ramsey: Ramsy or Ramzy
For more feminine names, the long E sound might be represented by E, EE, IE, Y, EY or EIGH. The name Bailey, for example, is pronounced just the same when it’s spelled Bailee, Baylee or Bayleigh, all of which are in the Top 1,000 Names for Baby Girls.
- Aleah: Aleigha, Alia
- Amy: Aimee
- Aubrey: Aubree, Aubrie, Aubri
- Avery: Averi, Averie
- Brylee: Bryleigh
- Destiny: Destinee
- Emily: Emely, Emilee, Emilie, Emmalee
- Hailey: Hailee, Haleigh, Haley, Haylee, Hayleigh, Hayley, Haylie
- Layla: Laila, Lailah, Laylah, Leila, Leyla
- Riley: Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie
- Sylvia: Sylvie, Sylvee, Sylveeah
Change C to K, or vice-versa
The letters C, K, CH and CK are generally interchangeable. A traditional name, such as Christopher, becomes more modern when the hard CH sound is changed to just a C (Cristopher) or a K (Kristopher).
Within the top 1,000 names for boys, some C and K names boast as many as seven different spellings!
- Cameron: Camren, Camron, Camryn, Kameron, Kamron and Kamryn.
- Colton: Colten, Kolten, Kolton
- Connor: Conner, Conor, Konner, Konner
- Kason: Casen, Cason, Cayson, Kasen, Kaysen, Kayson
The same holds true for the names we love for baby girls:
- Carly: Carlee, Carleigh, Carley, Carlie, Karlee, Karlie
- Kalyn: Cailyn, Kaelyn, Kaelynn, Kailyn, Kailynn, Kaylen, Kaylyn, Kaylynn
- Kailey: Caylee, Kailee, Kaleigh, Kaylee, Kayleigh, Kaylie
- Katelyn: Caitlyn, Caitlin, Kaitlin, Kaitlyn, Katelynn
Popular boy names such as Caleb, Carterand Colby become Kaleb, Karter and Kolby, while girl names Cassandra, Catalina and Chloe become Kassandra, Katalina and Khloe.
When C/K swaps are made within the name, you see modifications like these:
- Danica: Danika
- Dominic: Dominick, Dominik
- Eric: Erick, Erik
- Jacob: Jakob, Jaycob
- Lucas: Lukas
- Mackenzie: Makenzie, Mckenzie
- Makayla: Mckayla, Michaela, Mikaela, Mikayla
- Marcus: Markus, Marquis
- Nicholas: Nickolas, Nicolas, Nikolas
- Zachary: Zackary
Play with X, Y and Z
For both masculine and feminine names, adding or removing uncommon consonants results in fresh new names.
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The unisex name Hayden rose with the Aiden-Jayden-Kayden crowd, and like the rest of them has now slid in popularity. It still ranks in the Top 300 for boys and girls, although it was used for about 1000 more boys than girls in 2018.⠀ ⠀ Hayden has the most evergreen sound of the -aidan/ayden names, in part due to its historical legitimacy. We predict it will still be in use even after the Bradens, Jaydens, and Kaydens have faded.⠀ ⠀ What do you think of Hayden? Do you prefer it on a boy or a girl?
- Alexander: Alexzander
- Austin: Austyn
- Elise: Elyse
- Isabelle: Izabelle
- Jasmine: Jazmine
- Gavin: Gavyn
- Hayden: Haden, Hadyn
- Jackson: Jaxson
- Jalen: Jaylin
- Jason: Jayson
- Josiah: Joziah
- Lauren: Lauryn
- Xavier: Xzavier
Double or half the consonants
One of the most common ways to modify the spelling of a girl baby name is to add or remove one or more of the consonants within the name. In many cases, adding an H seals the deal.
- Alana: Alanna, Alannah
- Aubrianna: Aubriana
- Ava: Avah
- Braelyn: Braelynn
- Eliana: Elianna
- Emmalyn: Emmalynn
- Giselle: Gisselle
- Janiyah: Janiya
- Liliana: Lilianna, Lilliana, Lillianna
- Madison: Maddison
There is a drawback
When it comes to baby name spellings, there really are no hard and fast rules, but keep one thing in mind. Your modifications may make your baby’s name personal and unique, but he or she may end up spending a lot of time correcting people who misspell it.
A version of this story was originally published in December 2013.
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