Caitlyn vs. Kaitlyn: Jenner chose the less-common spelling of her new first name


The Olympic gold medalist formerly known as Bruce Jenner has publicly introduced herself as Caitlyn Jenner, posing in a stunning Annie Leibovitz portrait on the cover of Vanity Fair, revealed today.

Jenner announced in an interview with Diane Sawyer last month that she is transitioning to a woman, her “true self.”

Besides observing that Caitlyn is gorgeous, slaying, , and so on, the Internet quickly took note of the spelling of Jenner’s new first name.

The Kardashian family brand is built on alliteration: there’s Caitlyn’s ex-wife Kris and their daughters Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie.

But no Kaitlyn.

Caitlyn is derived from the Irish name Caitlín (the Gaelic form of Catherine), meaning “pure.” According to Social Security Administration data, parents of babies born in 2014 spelled “Caitlyn” in at least 17 ways, from Caytlin to Katelynne.

As it turns out, Kaitlyn with a K is actually the most common variation, outperforming Caitlyn with a C by a factor of three.

As of last year, Caitlyn is the 463rd most popular baby girl name in the United States; Kaitlyn is the 158th most popular.

Of course, this is all speculation, but it’s nevertheless interesting that Caitlyn Jenner chose to spell her name with a C, not a K — and even more interesting in that this represents a departure not only from family tradition, but the national norm.

It’s possible this could be intended as a subtle dig at the Kardashian Klan, but maybe it’s just another way in which Caitlin Jenner is forging her own path.

Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion’s Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.

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