I was thinking the other day about Kleenex, which is purposely misspelled from clean-ex, if that makes sense, and I was wondering if there was a word for purposely misspelling a word, or name.

  • 3
    Some people might call it a missed-ache. Others might call it a pun ;-)
    – Jim
    Nov 16, 2013 at 4:36
  • Note by the way that Kleene is a surname.
    – Kaz
    Nov 16, 2013 at 5:07
  • Brand names that are as well-known as Kleenex frequently become part of the language, as I am sure you realise. Few people in Britain vacuum-clean their homes. Most people 'hoover' them. I don't know if this has any connection to what you are asking, but it is an interesting topic.
    – WS2
    Nov 16, 2013 at 9:52
  • 1
    I'd call it marketing.
    – long
    Nov 16, 2013 at 20:13
  • 1
    If Ex and X mean Formerly, or Not, then Kleenex means "it is not clean" and Timex means "it is not time". There are probably others as well.
    – user126158
    Apr 20, 2016 at 18:55

3 Answers 3


Deliberate misspelling of words is referred to as eye dialect. It means use of nonstandard spelling. Examples include enuff, goffik and wuz (for was). Another good self-explanatory term is chatspeak defined in the Urban Dictioanry as

Chatspeak, aka netspeak. This is a form of speech in which one shortens words and replaces the letter "s" with the letter "z" in an effort to save time and look cool. Chatspeakers also rarely use capitalization or correct punctuation.

As a general term I recommend heterography (cf. orthography).

OED: Spelling that differs from that which is correct according to current usage; ‘incorrect’ spelling.

  • Though coinage of 'Kleenex' well pre-dates the existence of net chat.
    – Spagirl
    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:40

Although most dictionaries simply define it as bad spelling, other sources define cacography as deliberate misspelling, often for comic effect.


How about : Cacography is deliberate comic misspelling, a type of humour similar to malapropism.


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