Wayne Rooney's baby Klay and the trend for K-names

Wayne Rooney's tweeted photo Klay, Wayne, Kai and Coleen Rooney

Footballer Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen have called their second son Klay. The name is more usually spelt Clay. It's part of a wider trend that is seeing "c" being substituted with "k".

Think of famous people whose names start with the letter K - when they once would have been a C - and one word springs to mind.


There's Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and mother Kris.

Sister Kim might not fit the bill, but then she used to be married to a Kris. Now's she dating another K - Kanye West.

The Kardashians aren't the only family who have colonised the letter K.

Former US baseball star Roger Clemens and his wife also adopted it, taking the alphabet association one step further by given their four sons - Koby, Kory, Kacy and Kody - second names beginning with the letter A.

The K calling was to honour Clemens's strikeouts - each known as a "K".

The Rooneys' first son is called Kai. So by adding Klay - which commentators have speculated could have been inspired by Muhammad Ali's birth name Cassius Clay - to the family, they have joined a growing club.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Will Kim and Kanye continue the K theme?

"Substituting a C for a K has been the single favourite trick of creative baby namers over the last decade. Substituting a Y for an I is another favourite," says Laura Wattenberg, author of the Baby Name Wizard.

"And K attracts people who like alliterative kids names, pairs of names. The letter stands out in look and sound, you can't miss it."

There's even a term for this type of creative spelling - "kree8iv" - according to Pamela Redmond Satran, co-owner of Nameberry, who cites the US actor Patrick Wilson, who called his son Kassian, and skateboarder Tony Hawk, who called his daughter Kadence, as other converts.

Boys' names such as Kameron, Konnar and Kaylob, and girls' names such as Kaydince and Klaira are also on the rise.

"The substitution is part of trend which is seeing parents come up with inventive ways to make their children's names more unusual.

"Personally, I think old vintage names or ethnic names are a better way to make a child's name individual, but people love creative spellings. I think the Kardashians have made it tacky chic," Satran says.

The Magazine on names

Parenting club Bounty.com's spokeswoman Lisa Penney agrees celebrities have a huge influence on baby name trends.

"After the Rooneys named their first son Kai, it leapt up the charts to the 48th most popular boy's name for us, and it's still ranked 60th.

"We've had over 24 kids called Keegan already this year, and 54 Rios, probably after Rio Ferdinand. And Hugo made it into the top 100 last year, climbing 61 places, which we put down to the popularity of Made in Chelsea," she says.

When it comes to Clay or Klay, Penney says there have been 284 spellings of the name starting with the letter C on the site since 1995, versus 28 starting with the letter K.

But she says she wouldn't be surprised if Klay climbed up the ranks.

And it's not just baby names that are seeing the K effect catch on.

Ian Brookes, consultant editor for Collins Dictionaries, says brands, goods and retail establishments have increasingly been using K instead of C, or Z instead of S, over the past 20 years because people have felt less restrained by traditional forms of spelling.

"K, X and Z in particular can be seen as fun and funky letters, which can be used in unusual circumstances to give punch and effect.

"Kids Korner and Kidz clubs are pretty common nowadays. And people have been buying Rice Krispies and Heinz Beanz for ages," he says.

In fact, Brookes says there is no real need to have the letter C in the alphabet, because the sounds it creates can be replicated by a K or an S.

"Most English words which begin with K are borrowed from German or Japanese, like karate or karaoke. So by using K or Z, it could be that we are suggesting something exotic in some way," he adds.

But linguistics expert Prof Vivian Cook thinks it is quite the contrary.

"In the UK it has been used by businesses mostly at the cheap end of the market."

Here's a selection of your comments about names with a rogue K.

I grew up in an ex-British colony and went to a very proper school. As such, the trendy 'k' in Mikaela was frowned upon. Teachers actually spelled my name the "proper" way on purpose: Michaela. "It's the female version of Michael, dear. We aren't in Russia!" My irritation was allayed by my Portuguese basketball coach who loved that my name had the "proper" Portuguese spelling. However, he also insisted on the "proper" Portuguese pronunciation: Mee-kai-ella. When I moved to America I saw the "K" kraze everywhere. I dated a Kody, the youngest of eight children whose names began with "K". I then married a man whose 50-something-year-old mother was Kathie. Her siblings are: Klane, Kendall, Kevin, and Krista. I was surprised the "trend" had been going on so long. But my name is still "weird" in the US - where names beginning in "McK" are common. Everyone here spells my name McKayla.

Mikaela Hansen, Utah, USA

I have always liked that my name was slightly different, I didn't know many Christine's growing up and definitely none with the spelling my mother gave me. I was never sure why my name was spelt as so, as my two siblings both have generally common names, traditionally spelt. But I think my name suits my personality and love of all things creative. I am not sure how I feel about there now being a possible sudden influx of all sorts of people adopting to use K, I always like to be different. I do know that if I was to be born a boy I was due to be named Kristopher.

Kristine Basnett , Liverpool, UK

My name is Rebekah. The K is the traditional Biblical spelling rather than the modern Rebecca, so K isn't always a tacky modern alternative, sometimes its more traditional (but generally it looks like the parents can't spell).

Rebekah Carton ,

We called our now six-year-old son Kaelan. We debated spelling it with a C but decided against it, purely for pronunciation reasons. Living in a French-speaking country but having a Celtic name, we wanted to be sure there was no ambiguity in how to say it, which might have arisen had we spelt it with a C.

Joanne Osborn, Pfastatt, France

One of the guys at work has a new baby girl they've named Klarabell. Personally, I find the K at the start of a girl's name gives a harsh look, a very masculine tone, to what is quite a feminine name.

Denise Wynn, Vancouver, Canada

My Grandson who is 25 is called Kristien.

Rita Dobson, Sheffield, UK

I've grown up having to explain to people that my name is spelled as "Kristine with a K", not "Christine with a CH". I've also had people mistake my name as Kristin or Kristen. As a child, I remember searching for Kristine in personalised mugs, key chains, etc. at gift shops and never finding it. The closest I got was Kristin. At one point, I bought a Kristin mug and just added an "e" at the end.

Kristine, New Jerse, USA

Having my first name spelt with a K makes my initials quite catchy and sound like a name in their own right.

Karl Chads, London

Having gone through life constantly spelling my name over the phone ("It's Clare. No, without an "I". Yes, with an "E",) I wanted to spare my daughter the same fate. So I called her Cara, a name that (I thought) could only be spelled one way. Already I have lost count of how many times I've had to correct someone who spelled it "Kara".

Clare, Cambridge, UK

My partner and I decided on Kaleb as it was different and felt modern as opposed to Caleb which I knew was a biblical name.

Graeme Fingland, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire

My name is spelt Klaire, so known as Klaire with a K, for obvious reasons. The spelling of my name still causes some confusion but I wouldn't have it any other way. I still get asked if I changed it myself, but no - has been like that since birth. The spelling does suit my personality and does get me noticed, so I can only really complain about never getting a keyring with my name on it when I was younger. Now at 28, I have got over it. Just.

Klaire Connor, Stirling, UK

I'm originally from Auckland. My mum said she felt I was a Karmen when she was carrying me and liked the slightly different spelling. I've only met a couple of other people called Karmen in my life so far.

Karmen Nagy-Stephenson, Leeds, UK

I have five brothers and two sisters and we all share the initials KLM. When we were very much younger we were in local papers quite often because of it and we were always known as The Ks. It never felt odd but did cause issues as we got older and started getting letters sent to us. My mum had to open all of it to work out who it was meant for. Some of us have carried on the tradition and have given our children the same initials although it gets harder finding names that haven't already been used.

Karla Hallett, Reading, UK

I have spelled my name with a K since I was 16 - 10 years ago. And it's just stuck.

Kris Adams, London

My name is Kathryn but people always try to spell it with a C. Usually they want to write Catherine. That's one reason I call myself Kate, at least they usually spell that right.

Kate George, Bracknell

My name, Dominik, uses the K instead of the usual C. Not unusual elsewhere, but here people seem to find it pretty odd. I like it though.

Dominik Wilde, Warrington, UK

My siblings and I have the names Katie-Jane, Klaire, Kyle and Keith. We were born between 1978 and 1988 so my parents appear to have been well ahead of the curve with this. They claim that it was not pre-conceived and that they genuinely liked all of the names, the 'K' in Klaire being changed to mark her out from the very popular use of 'Claire' at the time. I have my suspicions though, especially when my Dad let it slip that I was nearly called Kermit.

Kyle Evans, Fareham, UK

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