The Many Ways to Spell Tiffany

Tiffany is quite an old name – it’s the medieval form of the Greek name Theophania (feminine for Theophanes, meaning “manifestation of God“), and was traditionally given to girls born on January 6th, or Epiphany.  Much more recently, Tiffany became popular in light of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  If you’re unfamiliar with the movie or book, the story gets its name from the jewelry shop, not a character. 

As a trendy name becomes trendier, more spellings appear.  From the time Tiffany entered the top 1000 in 1962 to its peak in 1988, and even afterwards, over 50 different ways to spell Tiffany appeared in the Social Security Administration’s birth data.  I’ve tried to find them all.

Definite spellings:

  1. Teffani – debuts 1971 with 5 girls; only appearance.  Might be influenced by variation of Stephanie.
  2. Teffanie – debuts 1969 with 6 girls; only appearance.
  3. Teffany – debuts 1966 with 8 girls, peak in 1977 with 16 girls. Last appearance 1993.
  4. Tephanie – debuts 1968 with 6 girls, peak in 1982 with 14 girls. Last appearance 1988. 
  5. Tifanee – debuts 1980 with 5 girls, peak in 1987 with 9 girls. Last appearance 1991.
  6. Tifani – debuts 1967 with 12 girls, peak in 1981 and 1988 with 39 girls. Last appearance 2010.
  7. Tifanie – debuts 1970 with 8 girls, peak in 1980 with 34 girls. Last appearance 2001.
  8. Tifanny – debuts in 1980 with 7 girls, peak in 2003 and 2007 with 12 girls. Last appearance 2009.
  9. Tifany – debuts in 1966 with 5 girls, peak in 1982 with 66 girls. Last appearance 2013.
  10. Tiffaine – debuts in 1986 with 5 girls; only appearance.
  11. Tiffane – debuts in 1970 with 6 girls, peak in 1981 with 20 girls. Last appearance 1998.
  12. Tiffanee – debuts in 1969 with 8 girls, peak in 1988 with 43 girls. Last appearance 2002.
  13. Tiffaney – debuts in 1965 with 5 girls, peak in 1980 with 142 girls. Last appearance 2009.
  14. Tiffani – debuts in 1962 with 9 girls, peak in 1981 with 643 girls, 15 girls in 2016.
  15. Tiffanie –debuts in 1962 with 6 girls, peak in 1980 with 470. 6 girls in 2016
  16. Tiffannee – debuts in 1978; only appearance.
  17. Tiffanni – debuts in 1971 with 7 girls, peak in 1987 and 1994 with 8 girls. Last appearance 1997.
  18. Tiffannie – debuts in 1971 with 6 girls, peak in 1986 with 15. Last appearance in 1995. 
  19. Tiffanny – debuts in 1968 with 6 girls, peak in 1982 and 1984 with 21 girls. Last appearance 2006.
  20. Tiffany – debuts 1942 with 7 girls. Peak in 1988 with 18364 girls. Entered top 1000 in 1962, peaked 1982 and 1988 (with highest percentage in ’88).  Current rank: #558 with 555 girls. 
  21. Tiffanye – debuts 1972 with 7 girls. Peak in 1980 with 10 girls.  Last appearance 1985.
  22. Tiffeney – debuts in 1970 with 6 girls. Peak in 1982 and 1983 with 7 girls.  Last appearance 1985.
  23. Tiffeny – debuts 1968 with 6 girls. Peak in 1989 with 31 girls.  Last appearance 2003.
  24. Tifffany – debuts 1988 with 6 girls; only appearance.
  25. Tiffiani – debuts 1980 with 5 girls. Peak in 1980 and 1992 with 5 girls.  Last appearance 1992.
  26. Tiffiany – debuts 1966 with 7 girls. Peak in 1982 with 50 girls.  Last appearance 1999.
  27. Tiffinay – debuts 1971 with 5 girls. Peak in 1976 with 8 girls.  Last appearance 1988. 
  28. Tiffine – debuts 1971 with 8 girls, peak in 1984 with 18 girls. Last appearance 1995.
  29. Tiffinee – debuts 1973 with 5 girls, peak in 1988 with 10 girls. Last appearance 1990.
  30. Tiffiney – debuts 1966 with 10 girls, peak in 1981 with 63 girls. Last appearance 2001.
  31. Tiffini – debuts 1964 with 7 girls, peak in 1980 with 71 girls. Last appearance 2007.
  32. Tiffinie – debuts 1967 with 8 girls, peak in 1981 and 1982 with 22 girls. Last appearance 1996.
  33. Tiffiny – debuts 1964 with 10 girls, peak in 1980 with 144 girls. Last appearance 2008.
  34. Tiffnay – debuts 1975 with 6 girls, peak in 1981 with 12 girls. Last appearance 1989.
  35. Tiffney – debuts 1962 with 7 girls, peak in 1980 with 66 girls. Last appearance 2002.
  36. Tiffni – debuts 1970 with 11 girls, peak in 1970 with 11 girls. Last appearance 1971.
  37. Tiffnie – debuts 1970 with 5 girls; only appearance.
  38. Tiffny – debuts 1972 with 7 girls. Peak in 1984 with 12 girls.  Last appearance 1988.
  39. Tiffoni – debuts 1972 with 6 girls; only appearance.
  40. Tiffonie – debuts 1971 with 5 girls. Peak in 1971, 1975, and 1976 with 5 girls.  Last appearance 1976.
  41. Tiffony – debuts 1966 with 5 girls, peak in 1980 with 16 girls. Last appearance 1990.
  42. Tifini – debuts 1967 with 5 girls, peak in 1982 with 12 girls. Last appearance 1995.
  43. Tifinie – debuts 1971 with 5 girls, peak in 1980 with 6 girls. Last appearance 1980.
  44. Tifiny – debuts 1979 with 5 girls, peak in 1980 with 6 girls. Last appearance 1980.
  45. Tifney – debuts 1970 with 7 girls, peak in 1970 and 1977 with 7 girls. Last appearance 1982.
  46. Tifni – debuts 1980 with 5 girls; only appearance.
  47. Tifphanie – debuts 1976 with 6 girls; only appearance.
  48. Tiphanee – debuts 1995 with 5 girls; only appearance.
  49. Tiphani – debuts 1971 with 6 girls, peak in 1988 with 24 girls. Last appearance 2007.
  50. Tiphanie – debuts 1967 with 5 girls, peak in 1988 with 32 girls. Last appearance 2009.
  51. Tiphany – debuts 1968 with 5 girls, peak in 1993 with 15 girls. Last appearance 2001.
  52. Tyfani – debuts 1990 with 7 girls; only appearance.
  53. Tyffani – debuts 1980 with 7 girls, peak in 1987, 1993, and 1995 with 11 girls. Last appearance 2001.
  54. Tyffanie – debuts 1979 with 5 girls, peak in 1985 with 7 girls. Last appearance 1992
  55. Tyffany – debut 1975 with 7 girls, peak in 1989 with 13 girls. Last appearance 2000.

The names in bold are the ones that were still being given to babies in 2016.

Uncertain spellings:

  • Taffani – debuts 1972 with 5 girls, peaks in 1972 and 1992 with 5 girls.  Last appearance 1992.  Sounds more like Daphne.
  • Taffany – debuts 1967 with 6 girls, peaks 1988 with 24 girls.  Last appearance 1994.
  • Taffney – debuts 1970 with 5, peaks 1970 and 1974 with 5 girls.  Last appearance 1974.
  • Tiffancy – debuts 1975 with 5 girls, peak in 1986.  Last appearance 1988.
  • Tiphaine – debuts 1976 with 5 girls; only appearance.
  • Tippany – debuts 1982 with 6 girls; only appearance.

Names Inspired by Tiffany:

  • Latiffany – debuts 1974 with 6 girls, peak in 1987 with 22 girls.  Last appearance 1994.
  • Tiffanique – debuts 1992 with 5 girls, peak in 1993 with 6 girls.  Last appearance 1993.
  • Tiffaniamber – debuts 1993 with 6 girls, peak in 1997 with 9 girls.  Last appearance 1997.
  • Tiffanyamber – debuts 1994 with 8 girls, peak in 1994 and 1998 with 8 girls.  Last appearance 1999.
  • Tiffanyann – debuts in 1981 with 7 girls.
  • Tiffanymarie – debuts 1987 with 5 girls.
  • Tiffay – debuts 1974 with 6 girls, peak in 1987 with 28 girls.  Last appearance 1988.
  • Tiffin – debuts 1966 with 5 girls, peak in 1968, 1977, and 1980 with 7 girls.  Last appearance 1982.
  • Tiffy – debuts 1974 with 5 girls, peak in 1981 with 7 girls.  Last appearance 1981.

Do you have a favorite spelling of Tiffany?  Have you met someone with an unusual spelling of this name, even one that didn’t make this list?  Let me know!

Sources:

The ‘Ph’ Treatment

You’ve probably seen traditionally ‘Ph’ names spelled with an ‘F.’  This tends to happen in Romance languages like Italian and Spanish and in phonetic transliterations of Modern Greek.  Filomena, Felipe, and Fotini are fairly well-known cognates of Philomena, Philip, and Photine.  These ‘F’ spellings are perfectly legitimate and well-established; you’d never refer to them as “youneek” or “kre8tyv” spellings!

On the other hand, a few Americans have taken names that traditionally begin with ‘F’ and spelled them instead with ‘Ph.”  These spellings usually do count under “youneek” and “kre8tyv,” though I wonder how many are phonetic rather than intentional.  Some parents may hear a name and love it but not see it written down before they put it on the birth certificate.  On the other hand, I’m cynical and wonder how many parents know and just don’t care.

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 1.42.02 PM

“Phrom” the 2015 data:

Farrah becomes Pharrah (16 girls) or Phara (5 girls).  Arabic names like Farrah always have multiple spellings when they enter English.  You simply can’t establish a standard transliteration for a name from another alphabet.

Finley -> Phinley (14 girls).  I wondered if this was influenced by Phineas at all, but so far Phinley has only registered for girls.  To be fair, Finley is a more popular girls’ name than boys’ name, but we may see male Phinley‘s if Finley continues rising for both genders.

Faith -> Phaith (8 girls).  Phaith actually looks kinda pretty, but considering that Faith is a word in every English dictionary…I can’t justify this.  If you want to use a word as a baby name, please check the spelling first. 

Fallon -> Phalynn (5 girls).  Fallon first debuted in the 1980s, bringing with a plethora of both ‘f’ and ‘ph’ variations.  Nothing new here!

Farrell -> Pharrell (14 boys) or Pharell (7 boys).  Whether you spell it with an ‘F’ or a ‘Ph,’ it boasts celebrity associations.  Farrell refers to actor Colin Farrell, and Pharrell to musician Pharrell Williams.

Felix -> Phelix (6 boys).  i.e., The geneticist’s favorite baby name.  Honestly, Phaith looks better than Phelix.  But that’s just me…

Finn -> Phynn (6 boys).

“Phrom” the Past:

Fabian -> PhabianPhabian last appeared in 2013.

Fanta -> Phanta.  1978 only. 

Fantasia -> PhantasiaPhantasia appeared sporadically between 1991 and 2005.

Faramond -> PharamondNot from the data…Pharamond is the Shakespearian spelling of Faramund / Faramond, who was king of the Franks. 

Fatima -> PhatimaLast appeared in 2007.

Fawn -> Phawn 1976 only.

Felicia -> Phelicia.  1960s-1990s.

Felicity -> Phelicity.  A millennial (1999/2000) edition. 

Felony -> Phelony.  Both are too rare for the data (thankfully), but occasionally and unfortunately pop up sometimes.  See Phelony: A Baby Name Rant.

Fiona -> Phiona.  Last appeared in 2014, so maybe again in 2016?

Now “phantasize” about:

To my knowledge, nobody has previously discovered or used these.

Faustine -> Phaustine

Faye -> Phaye

Finnegan -> Phinnegan

Fitzgerald -> Phitzgerald

Flavia -> Phlavia

Fleur / Fleurette -> Phleur, Phleurette

Flora -> Phlora

Florence -> Phlorence

Forrest -> Phorrest

Fox -> Phox

Francis / Frances -> Phrancis / Phrances

Frankie -> Phrankie

Frederick -> Phrederick

Freya -> Phreya

What are your thoughts on the ‘Ph’ treatment of ‘F’ names?  I’m not big on it, but some spellings are admittedly less atrocious than others.  If I can designate a favorite from each category, they’d have to be Pharrell, Phawn, and Phreya.

The data for this post comes from the SSA and the wonderful Nancy’s Baby Names.

 

Irish Spellings in America

When I was growing up, having an Irish name in America likely meant that your parents had named you Ryan or Kaitlyn.  If you had a “Gaelic” spelling, your name was probably Caitlin or Sean.  I still remember how surprised I was when I heard there was an Aine (pr. Awn-yuh) at my high school. 

St. Patrick’s Day is fairly important to me.  Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of this blog, but more importantly: I’m Irish-American!  Several branches of my family emigrated to America between the 17 and 19th centuries.  Some were Catholic, but others were (a little strangely) Protestant.  The last branch to arrive in the U.S. were native Irish-speakers…something you probably don’t hear too often.  With them in mind, I’ve decided observe St. Patty’s on my site by tracking down and posting as many non-Anglicized Irish spellings as I could find within in the 2015 data.  Irish spellings of English names…totally okay!  I’ll point those out as they come along.

One final note before starting: I’ve tried to include the accents, even though the SSA doesn’t count them. 

Girls:

Aibhlinn – 18 girls in 2015.  A user-submitted comment to Behind the Name suggests this is an Irish form of Aveline.  Either way, it’s very similar to Eibhlín (see below).

Ailís – 12 girls.  Form of Alice.

Áine – 44 girls.

Aisling – 48.  Variant Aislinn (said like Ashlynn) entered the top 1000 in 2015 with 280 uses.  Another spelling, Aislin, was used 55 times in 2015.

Aoife – 98 girls.

Brighid – 9 girls.  Form of Bridget

Cailín – 50 girls.  Note: I don’t think this is actually a name in Ireland, but Colleen is the Anglicized spelling of this.  It means “girl.”

Caitlín – 473 girls, .  Meant to be pronounced more like Katleen than Katelyn.

Caitríona – 11 girls.  Think Katrina.

Caoimhe – 11 girls.  Pronounced like Keeva.

Ciara – 370 girls, #756.

Clíona – 5 girls.

Clodagh – 5 girls.

Deirdre – 27 girls.

Eibhlín – 8 girls.  Eileen is an English-version, although Eibhlín can also be said more like “Evleen.”

Eilís – 6 girls girls.  Usually a form of Elizabeth

Fíona – 1484 girls, #219. 

Fionnuala – 7 girls.  Fenella is probably my favorite English spelling!     

Maev.jpg

“Maev,” J.C. Leyendecker, 1911.

Maebh – 6 girls.  My mother told me once that I’d have been named Maeve if I were born in the 80s. 

Máire – 10 girls.  Form of Mary

Mairéad – 24 girls.  Irish form of Margaret

Máirín – 12 girls.  Maureen is the Anglicized form.

Muireann – 5 girls.

Niamh – 35 girls.  Rhymes with Eve!

Nuala – 9 girls.  I’ve actually met one. 

Órla – 30 girls.

Ríona – 33 girls.

Roísín – 27.  Diminutive of Rós, making Roísín the Irish equivalent of “Rosie.”

Saoirse – 158 girls.  Pronounced like “Seer-sha,” I think most are named after actress Saoirse Ronan.

Sinéad – 10 girls.  Form of Jane

Siobhán – 56 girls.  Nancy at Nancy’s Baby Names just wrote a piece on the American familiarity with Siobhan.  Check it out!

Sorcha – 7 girls.

Úna – 45 girls.

Boys:

Aédán – 166 boys.     

Aengus – 9 boys.

Aodhán – 12 boys.

Art – 20 boys. 

Artúr – 24 boys.

Bradán – 13 boys.  You probably know this name through one of its other spellings – Braden and Brayden.

Bran – 12 boys.

Brian – 2200 boys, #188.

Cathal – 5 boys.

Cathán – 5 boys.

Cian – 153.  Keane is an Anglicized form.

Ciarán – 73.  Kieran is the English spelling, though I still prefer Ciarán.  It makes me think of Ciaran Hinds (especially his role as Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome).

Cillian – 121.  Pronounced with a hard ‘c,’ like Killian.

Colm – 13 boys.  I met one once, and made the mistake of pronouncing it phonetically.  It’s closer to Colum. 

Colmán – 16 boys.

Conall – 38 boys.

Conán – 58 boys.

Conor – 621 boys, #477.

Cormac – 175 boys.  This always reminds me of Cormac McLaggen from Harry Potter!

Dara – 9 boys, 64 girls.

Deaglán – 50 boys.  Declan is Deaglán‘s Anglicized form.

Donn – 5 boys.  

Éamonn – 35 boys.  Irish form of Edmund

Eoghan – 28 boys.  Equivalent of Owen

Eoin – 57 boys.  Form of John.

Faolán – 8 boys. 

Fergus – 21 boys.

Finn – 1881 boys, #209.  Finn is actually considered an older spelling than Fionn

1_Finn_heard_far_off_the_first_notes_of_the_fairy_harp

Finn MacCool, as depicted by Stephen Reid in 1910

Finnian – 164 boys. 

Fionn – 30 boys.

Lochlann – 20 boys.  

Lorcán – 7 boys.

Micheál – 266 boys, #840

Niall – 53 boys.

Oisín – 16 boys. 

Oscar – 2286, #181

Padráig – 28 boys.  Form of Patrick.

Rían – 123 boys, 88 girls

Rónán – 1024 boys, #335. 

Ruairí – 13 boys.  Rory is the most common English spelling. 

Ruari – 14 boys, 10 girls

Séamus – 218 boys, #946.  Irish form of James.

Seán – 1870, #211.  Form of John

Tadhg – 17 boys. 

Torin – 137 boys, 9 girls

Uilliam – 6 boys.  Form of William.

Thoughts?  Questions (especially about pronunciation)?  Additions or subtractions?  Let me know in the comments! 

I sourced the names from these two lists:

The numbers themselves come from the Social Security Administration.  Ranks from Behind the Name.