These days, a majority of youth hate spelling here in India, not because they find it hard to grasp but because they think it is cool to deviate from standards and follow their own spelling whims. Any attempt to reason with these people is met with contempt. I was wondering if there was a word or term for intentional bad spellers.

My quick Google search threw up a word called cacography to refer to bad handwriting and/or bad spelling. I am not sure if we can derive cacographer from that word and use it for intentional bad spellers.

  • Yes, you can.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 6:51
  • "Non-conformist"? "Rebellious"? "Teenager"?
    – fixer1234
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 7:11
  • 2
    Don't you mean "they think it is kewl"? :-) Seriously, this is a standard phase for teenagers, as @fixer1234 suggests. See, e.g., this rather disputed / disputable Wikipedia article (the disputations are all on finer points, not on the basic phenomenon).
    – torek
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 8:28
  • 1
    The phrase you are looking for is "We never did that when we were young."
    – Mick
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 8:56
  • 1
    It's called text speak, before the days of automatic spell checkers and unlimited characters, shortened forms of words were a necessity. This spelling trend is, I believe, less noticeable today than five or more years ago. Nowadays, if anyone writes only in textese they're seen as being uneducated, and semi-illiterate, but David Crystal argues that texting makes young people better and more efficient communicators.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


Cacographer is a real word that partially fits the requirements Wiktionary

One could create the term phonemographer but still not have the complete idea Wikipedia

If one were to create a term specifically for this question, it might be dacoitorthographer which would suggest a "bandit speller" Oxford Dictionaries.com

A term in use, but not formalized, is cacorthographer Ancestry.com, which I think is the closest to the desired meaning without pushing out of acceptable English and causing us to become dacoitorthographers.

  • As you mention both, I would heavily favor cacorthographer over cacographer. The former refers to the application of spelling (i.e. figurative penmanship), whereas the latter seem to refer to the quality of the linework (i.e. literal penmanship)
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 12:17
  • What's the difference between "Cacographer" and "Cacorthographer"? The definition of Cacographer seems well suited to the question. "Caco" is a prefix meaning "bad" or "incorrect", and "ortho" is a prefix meaning "correct" or "straight", so "cacographer" would be "bad writer" and "cacorthographer" would be "bad correct writer", which just seems like an unecessary complication. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 12:27

I love "Cacographer" (and, one assumes, "cacography" for the practise), but there is also an existing term sensational spelling, which describes this practise of deliberate misspelling.

This is used to generate copyrightable brand names "Kool Aid", "Google" etc, and also in names for bands etc, where presumably the motivation is more to do with the sort of studied unlearnedness you refer to, rather than copyright concerns.

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