Help with a Spelling

A family friend of mine chose this pronunciation for her son's name: KIH-lo-ehn, sort of like Killian but with an "o" (Killoan?)  My friend would like some suggestions of a spelling for KIH-lo-ehn. Some I thought of are Kilohen, Kilowen and Kilhoen.  What can you guys think of?


Thank you


May 26, 2016 7:44 PM

I would avoid Killoan as it looks like a mash-up of the words kill + loan, which could lead people away from the desired pronunciation.  I suspect Kilohen will get Key-lohen, it has a vaguely Hawaiian-inspired feel to me.  Kilhoen looks like it should be Kil-hone to me.  Of the options you've listed, I think Kilowen seems most intuitive.

Honestly, I suspect any spelling is going to cause problems and need explanation.  She may want to consider how important using this name is to her & how irriated she will feel when people frequently get it wrong, because they will.

May 29, 2016 4:19 PM

Kilowen looks very feminine to me, like Bronwen or Cerridwen.  I agree it would offer a reasonable chance at the correct pronunciation, though. 


I might personally go with Killoen. 

June 4, 2016 3:49 PM

I concur.  Killoen.

K.  I, because it's more straightforwardly "ih" than Y, which would look like "iy."  LL (double L), because a single L would make the I look like it should be pronounced "ee."  O (just plain; no W), because it's simple, and thus less likely to look like the stressed syllable.  EN.

May 27, 2016 9:21 AM

I am curious why she is attached to this name pronunciation that doesn't seem to have a natural spelling. Naturally to give it a short i, it seems like it should have two l's, but you obviously don't want you name to start with "Kill." Kilowen also seems the most intuitive but I agree that the name will almost certainly cause a lot of confusion. 

May 27, 2016 9:05 PM

People who bestow Killian on their kids apparently have no problem with a name that starts with "Kill".

My problem with /kill-owe-when/, regardless of spelling, is that it just makes me think of kilowatt. Dunno why.

May 27, 2016 10:01 AM

I agree that Kilowen seems like the best of your ideas so far. Perhaps Khilowen would make the first syllable clearer, although your version is cleaner-looking.

One other thing for your friend to consider regarding this name is its similarity in sound to the Star Wars villain Kylo Ren, especially if the first syllable is mispronounced--then you basically have Elmer Fudd's take on the Jedi Killer's name. It may be that the character will be redeemed over the course of the series and this will be a cool association, or the name could end up being the Millennial version of Jobadahutt.

May 28, 2016 6:32 AM

I think "Kilowen" is most likely to get the designed pronounciation, because Owen is a familiar name. 

May 28, 2016 2:56 PM

Oh, dear. But then you might get people pronouncing the name kill-Owen, which is not felicitous.

May 28, 2016 11:24 PM

Try a Q without a u?  Like Qilowen.  Then it looks lest like "kill" or "kilo" at the front.



May 30, 2016 2:23 AM

Suggest me a good name for my sister's new born baby boy :))



May 30, 2016 11:21 AM

If you're looking for name suggestions, you'll get more responses if you start a new thread with a little more info. :)

"Suggest me a good name" isn't very much to go on. What style of names does your sister like? Are there any names she'd considered, but can't/doesn't want to use? 

June 1, 2016 10:26 PM

Is your friend a Star Wars fan? KIH-lo-ehn sounds almost exactly like Kylo Ren, the villain of the new trilogy - maybe that's why it just sounds right to her. That said, I think you're going to have better luck with kylo- spellings because Kylo Ren makes it more familiar and you don't have the Kill- problem. Kyloen? Kylowen? Kylohen? None of these are intuitive at all. I might suggest just using Kylo, maybe with a N middle name? Something like Kylo Nicholas or Kylo Nathaniel could give you Kylo-N as a nickname, and give him something more traditional to fall back on. (I would not recommend Kilo as a standalone, you'll get kee-low and cocaine jokes all the time.) 


If shes' looking for something similar, maybe Enzo, Kieran, Kai, Malachi, Oisin, Owen or Eoghan, Fionn, Keoni? It reminds me of gaelic or hawaiian names. 



June 2, 2016 12:46 AM

I and I think everyone else has interpreted "KIH" as an indication of the short 'i' sound of kit, kin, kiss, and yes, kill. Kylo Ren has the long 'i' sound of kite, kind, and knife. (The pronunciation guide on this site uses 'iy' for this latter sound, while Behind the Name uses 'ie' -- which is really confusing for anyone with even a smattering of German.) Kilo often has yet another vowel, the long 'ee' of keel, keen, keep, and key, but as part of a longer word like 'kilogram', it usually has the short 'i'.

If we're right that the desired name sounds kind of like 'kilogram', but with 'when' instead of 'gram', then a 'y' spelling is probably ill-advised, because it will remind people of the new Star Wars bad guy, and get the wrong pronunciation.

June 1, 2016 10:46 PM

Kilowen sounds like an Irish placename.  The "kil" element means "church," and Owen can be an anglicization of Eoin or Eoghan, both of which are saints' names.  I would definitely be inclined to pronounce "Kilowen" as "kill Owen," though it would not make me think of killing a guy named Owen any more than Kilkenny makes me think of killing a guy named Kenny or Kilarney makes me think of killing a guy named Arney.

June 1, 2016 11:18 PM

Right, and Killian is literally kill+Ian. I think it's like the difference between carpet and car pet--same letters, no association.

June 2, 2016 1:15 AM

There are in fact a couple of Killowens in Ireland.

The issue is that the original poster wants the name to be a way that's hard to transcribe.  I think the intention is something like "kilowatt" only replacing the "att" with "en."  The trouble is the only ways I can think of to spell it will either get a long "I" sound, like Kilo Wen, or will yield "Killowen" with "Owen" being pronounced as a unit.

June 3, 2016 2:57 PM

Kilowan? Killowan? Killowin? I've said the desired pronunciation so much that I'm starting to pronounce everything remotely close to it the "correct" way. :)

June 3, 2016 3:09 PM

I just want to pipe up that the Kilo spellings are both helpful because they anchor people in saying it "like the unit of measurement", but also unhelpful because the unit of measurement can variably be KEE-loh as well as KIH-loh in different dialects. If the desired pronunciation is like "kill", that might be a more straightforward thing to reference in the spellling, even if it's a less positive association.