How to spell Hanukkah 2008


This is the 2008 update compiling Google search results for 22 variations on the spelling of Hanukkah. This year, by request, I added three variations based on Spanish spellings starting with the letter J.

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. 2004 numbers thanks to Jeremy Blachman

Current Google Trends snapshot of the top 5 spellings:


How Do You Spell Channukkahh by the Leevees

How to spell Hanukkah 2007

hanukkah spellings graph 2007

hanukkah spellings key 2007

Hanukkah fell very early this year, the first night was December 4th, so there wasn’t a lot of time to build up queries before the holiday started. I think that’s reflected in the lowered counts across the top of the field. While it would be nice to think there was starting to be some consensus about how to render the word in English, the dramatic falloff of the secondary Ch-spellings is most likely time-related. I’m going to keep an eye on the numbers over the next eight nights, if results increase significantly I’ll update the graph.

Here’s Google Trends graph showing results over time. Click the graph for more viewing options.

hanukkah usage trends

Previous years: 2004, 2005, 2006 (my CSV data file). 2004 numbers thanks to Jeremy Blachman

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.