Sixteen ways to spell Hanukkah

For the record:

Hanukkah : 8,470,000 hits.
Chanukah : 3,390,000 hits.
Hanukah : 862,000 hits.
Hannukah : 677,000 hits.
Chanuka : 335,000 hits.
Chanukkah : 274,000 hits.
Hanuka : 192,000 hits.
Channukah : 128,000 hits.
Chanukka : 116,000 hits.*
Hanukka : 86,300 hits.
Hannuka : 51,400 hits.
Hannukkah : 37,300 hits.
Channuka : 33,600 hits.
Xanuka : 992 hits.
Hannukka : 686 hits.
Channukkah : 508 hits.
Channukka : 489 hits.*
Chanuqa : 25 hits.

With the exception of a few wildcards, there are 16 different spellings, based on four phonetic variations:

  • The word starts with “H” or “Ch”
  • Second consonant is “nn” or “n”
  • Third consonant is “kk” or “k”
  • The word ends with “ah” or “a”

I think I must have grown up with “Chanukah”, because it look most right to me. At Lila’s pre-school Hanukkah party, there were three different spellings within 10 feet of one another. In the interest of ending the ridiculousness of the dozens of spellings, I’m going forward with “Hanukkah” which is the preferred spelling used by the Library of Congress. At least it’s always the same in Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה

This would be a fun thing to make dynamic, even chart over time. If only I had time… Jeremy Blachman did the same Hanukkah spelling thing in 2004, interesting to see how much bigger the Google indexes have grown in 12 months.

See results for other years: 2012, 20112010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.

* These seem to be popular spellings in German.

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    WITH ””CK’-AT THE END, WITH KH at the beginning (it should be the main way since it is the approved way to express the guttural ‘h’, either with ‘kh’ or ‘ch’ like in scottish ‘loch’)

    khannuckah, channucka, hanuqua, hhanoocka,

    So, if u count the kh, the ck at the end and the ‘oo’ with all possible variations, u will have much more.
    chag sameach!

  • Nice Jewish Girl

    Interesting! We took a survey in which 65% of people preferred the spelling Chanukah. “Chanukah” looks right to me too.

  • Jewish lady!

    I like this, I never knew how to spell hanukkah!! Thanks for the help!!

  • Prozacville

    I think the CH gives it a more full-on Eastern-European yiddish vibe, and probably preferred by yids who can do that whole throat-clearing CH (as in ‘loch’, not ‘lock’)thang.

    A lot of British Jews prefer the ‘H’-sound and spelling. I think they feel it is more refined in some way. Mark my word though, these are the people who fiddle with their children (or other people’s children).

  • plastikstuhl
    • Joe

      Thanks plastikstuhl, I included that video in the 2008 update.

  • mesa reynold

    what the hell.

  • Mmendels909

    there is no official correct  spelling of Hanukkah in English, only in Hebrew. The most common spellings are Hanukkah and Chanukah, but one could spell it XYZVAH and technically be correct, although nobody would understand it.

    • 000

      Agreed. Happy YTACHA!

    • Boglem

      that is not true

  • Ellacohed

    In arabic it is Xannqav, but no one would understand it.

  • Oliviad134

    I Just Went on this sight because I was bored Haha But I am impressed! Hope you guys figure it out.

  • Hoppy99

    There are so many!

  • Iudnhviusdh

    lololol. my friend spelled it as chunnukah.

  • French

    wat the heck im in the spelling bee and i mite hav to spell the word

    • Notgonnatellu

      Sorry good luck!

    • English

      Did you fail the spelling be? What*** I’m*** might*** have***

  • Julian Olidort

    Interesting! Where do these statistics come from??

    • Ted Hopp

      I think they’re Google search hits.

  • Mickey

    I also learned ‘Chanukah’ and even in Hebrew the first letter is a Chet, not a Hay.

    Lots of times I see ‘Xmas’ but never spell Christmas that way.  I believe it to be a respect issue with me.

    In the USA, there is no official language.

    In Israel, the official languages are Hebrew and Arabic.

    • Del

      I may be confused, are you saying there’s no official language in the US of A? I’m 99.9% sure it’s English and always has been.

      • Anneliese

        Contrary to popular belief, US of A does not have an official language. English is the primary language used for legislation though.

    • Keith E Gatling

      Actually, the X in Xmas is from the Greek spelling of Xristos, from which we get the English Christ. It was an abbreviation used by monks, and passed down through the ages. However, we moderns have a different connotation of the X, and so, without knowing its origins, assume that it’s disrespectful.

      Shorthand it is. Disrespectful, it ain’t.

  • Spunboy7

    Let me explain something. There isnt 16 ways to spell Channukah. Those top spellings ways are simply the top 13 or so mispelled google searches. I can assure you, no Jews or Hebrew speakers would ever use most of those spellings.

    Some of you people are just ridiculous. Some of the more senseless examples listed here are xyzvah, xannqav, khannuckah, channucka, hanuqua, hhanoocka, hshdfhfgh, sjdhfhf, cnchfhfs, and my favorite…. Ch5464356ah.

    And for those who listed the arabic spelling as though that way counts as a way to spell a Hebrew word… why not just list the chinese way of spelling it using their chinese alphabet. Or what about the French way of spelling using the French, Phrench, Pfrinch, Frencc, and Frentz alphabet. Or best of all, why not list the binary code way of spelling Channukah, which is  0110110010111 by the way…

    Just because you can phonetically sound out the word using letters doesnt mean that its an actual spelling.

    • mattdgold

      uh are you not aware of the linguistic ties between arabic and hebrew? lol.

  • Amanda

    I am Jewish myself, actually. The most common spellings are Chanukah or Hanukkah, but i honestly prefer Hanukah.
    But most of these spellings are pure bull(bleep).
    Let us also keep in mind that these are Google searches. If i have a penny for everytime i’ve misspelled something on search, i’d be a millionare. Imagine how many people who can’t spell something, such as Hanukah for say. They would need to put more money into circulation in order to give me a dollar per misspelling , and most people would still have no money. (Not sure if you are getting my comparison.) What i’m trying to say is that many people spell this wrong. And really people? Xanuka? What is wrong with Earth’s population these days. /).-

  • Lol_face_229

    Agreed, happy helga day

    • Da_names_BIB


  • Eli257

    Don’t forget Hanukkha (31,700 hits).

    • eli257

      . . . or Hannukha (35,600 hits).

  • MEnd

    There are >35 spellings of Channukah. Other than your rules, the ָ vowel in hebrew can be a,o,oo, or u based on where the person was from. The וּ vowel can be pronunced u, e, ee, or i based on where the person was from.

  • Yehoshua

    Garner’s “Modern English Usage” recommends “Hanukkah.”

  • ClarkKent46

    Happy winter solstice and merry Saturnalia.