On the importance of correctly spelling the word "cologne"


89 Responses to “On the importance of correctly spelling the word "cologne"”

  1. pfooti says:

    This is an instance of a phenomenon that just yesterday I learned is called an “eggcorn”. Using incorrect words that probably sound like the word you think it is.


    • Mark Dow says:

      The lesson here is don’t tweet on the spurt of the moment.

    • Cefeida says:


      I started reading the list in that article just for kicks, and ended up pretty upset. 
      My grasp of English was only intermediate by the time I got online, and the internet was a natural resource… I can still remember being extremely confused by a lot of these ‘eggcorns’. So many people online were writing ‘should of’ and ‘bare with me’ that I would end up thinking these were bona fide…I’m sorry, ‘bonified’ alternate expressions.

      The worst part is, I’ve noticed myself substituting homophones in cases where I’d never done it before. Right for write. Their for there. I know the difference, but seeing it written with a mistake in so many places messes with your head.

      • Stephen Olsen says:

        I’m doing the same now with French, sort of. I wind up spelling things by sound… in French. “I chould have”

        • Cefeida says:

          Rofl! I can relate. Ever seen French spelled with the Polish alphabet? I still have notebooks full of that. I was five and it had never occurred to me that  different languages had different spellings. ‘Bonżur, komą sa wa?’

          • Sparg says:

            Thanks!  I can read the French with the Polish spelling more easily than with the French spelling.  I taught one of my Russian instructors how to say the word “oil” by writing it in Cyrillic, though the Southerners in class drove her nuts with “erl”.

      • Ipo says:

         ‘Bare with me’ is correct. 
        Let’s all get naked!

      • penguinchris says:

        They’re so common that what is jarring to me is when I see people using things correctly.  

        Though this is more common when it comes to proper use of apostrophes, which is exceedingly rare on the internet.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          I’m not exactly a language reformer what with still using the subjective and whatnot, but I would be fine with getting rid of apostrophes. Cases where spelling-sans-apostrophe or context don’t make meaning perfectly obvious would be extremely rare.

    • McGreens says:

       Um, surely it’s a malapropism, no?

  2. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Speaking of the dull-witted, apparently Twitter is full of people who didn’t realize that the Titanic was a real ship until the anniversary the other day.

  3. rattypilgrim says:

    A cologneoscapy  doesn’t sound so bad.

  4. voiceinthedistance says:

    Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is often a nice gesture, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a colon is just a colon.

  5. jasonsho says:

    I find Cream-filled Collon  to be delicious.

  6. Brian Mack says:

    I just spell it Köln.

  7. jimh says:

    Twit-literacy will bite us all in the ass pretty soon.

  8. Boomer says:

    My beloved grand aunt used to call her bone doctor a “choirpractor.”

    • Cefeida says:

      He he he.

      Reminds me of how “Raising Hope” has the most wonderful malapropisms and portmanteaus thrown in ever so casually. “Vaginacologyst” made me spit out my dinner a few weeks ago. 

    • teapot says:

      That’s so adorable! I can’t believe she thought chiropractors are doctors!

  9. These people are clearly suffering Oldtimer’s disease.

  10. Kimmo says:

    When offered a correction, it’s interesting how many poor spellers automatically go on the defensive.

    It must be a pretty fucked-up world to live in, where people taking pity and offering help somehow appear as hectoring bullies or something…

    Attitude fail, bigtime. Marked in every written utterance.

  11. Stefan Jones says:

    Spotted in a market in Jerusalem, 1995:

    A box of laundry detergent named COLON:


  12. mothernatureseven says:

    I think it is mostly conservative christians who misspell it.

  13. Guest says:

    So is AXE body spray a semicologne?

  14. Egypt Urnash says:

    man I want a flavored colon. It’ll be like hair color! Today my hair’s blue and my colon tastes like blueberries to match! Tomorrow it’s red with strawberry colon!

  15. Reiner Kukulies says:

    That’s funny, because i live in colon :)

  16. fishyswaz says:

    Before the remodel, there was a great colon shop in the Fukuoka strain station:

  17. Problem is solved by calling it after-shave, as god intended.

    But yea, outside of your follow list Twitter is full of morons, the kind that frequent YouTube comments and style their hair with peanut butter.

  18. Dignan says:

    I love it when you can still smell your boyfriends colon on you.

    - Jeffrey Dahmer

  19. oasisob1 says:

    That second one in the pic above might be right; who knows what jaredgoddard gets up to on the weekends?

  20. suburbanhick says:

    Hey, are you some kinda pinko or what? What’s wrong with the old fashioned ‘Murrican spelling?

  21. sharkmark says:

    Has anyone around here considered the possibility that this was a joke among friends, perhaps poking fun at some misspelling at school or around the office? I realize the instinct of BoingBoingers to feel superior is pretty strong– note the jab at Christians above– but could we be the old farts who just don’t get the joke? Many of the comments sound like scoldy schoolmarms. 

    • surreality says:

      I doubt it. From reading all the examples, none of them seem anything other than a genuine attempt to refer to ‘cologne’. Other slips in spelling/punctuation don’t help either. I will, however, accept the fact that I’m a scoldy schoolmarm.
      edit: also, while I have made the ‘flavor’ instead of ‘scent’ mistake while speaking, I think one would catch it after tweeting it… unless you’re going to apply it to your colon, in which case maybe it IS a flavor.

    • bcsizemo says:


      I have seen plenty of people in car forums use the word breaks to refer to the parts of your car that stop you, ie your brakes. 

      I’m horrible at spelling…that’s one of my alternative uses of google.

    • Cefeida says:

      Notice the lack of likes and replies to that jab. I did a double take, wanted to ask ‘wtf’, then decided it was a troll best left alone.

  22. bcsizemo says:

    I keep thinking cinnamon enema…..
    (So many BB posts, so little time.)

  23. ill lich says:

    Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon should have his own fragrance: “Colon in a Can.”

  24. Jaunty Angle says:

    You really should give credit to @dogboner for finding these in the first place. He finds a lot of the eggcorn Twitter mistakes that get passed around by others.

  25. Jer_00 says:

    I’m waiting for the spelling shift on stuff like this.  Spelling rules were codified in English with the birth of the printing press – prior to the printing press spelling was much more fluid and phonetic.  The pronunciation of the language has changed a lot since then – there were some massive linguistic upheavals just within decades after the press was introduced to England.

    As long as publishers acted as gatekeepers to content, spelling was going to stay fairly standardized – and prescriptive rules on spelling have prevented publishers from shifting those spellings much (though there has been some sanity introduced over the centuries).  We’ve now entered a phase where  text communication is pretty much democratized and outside the hands of elite gatekeepers (just as spoken language has always been – which is why there’s so much more variation in spoken language than in print) so I wouldn’t be surprised to see spelling shifts happen in the next century or so.

    Though cologne -> colon isn’t one I suspect will stick (“colone” would be a much better choice for that one anyway, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that less funny misspelling wasn’t already being used on twitter without comment).  Losing “igh” and “ough”, though, are shifts we’re already seeing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually stick.

    •  Like dropping the u in “colour” or the e in “foetus”, I think there might be some resistance there…

      (Just confusing our US posters.)

      • jellyfishattack says:

        Our how Americans misspell “favourite” and “centre” – and pronounce “Lieutenant” like it’s spelled, not as it’s spoken in English English, and “foyer” as it’s spelled, not as it’s pronounced in French….

  26. chrisheil says:

    Greeting from, yes, Cologne ;) 

  27. For years I thought a parcourse was a “park horse”.  I remember thinking they did look a little like wooden horses.

  28. jellyfishattack says:

    Obviously, these people weren’t born in Canada (mandatory French lessons until Grade Ten); and then there are the English-speaking kids who take all their classes in French – even through University.  Too bad I’ve forgotten most of my French (I went to Grade 13).  I think if I coudn’t spell cologne, I’d write perfume instead!

    • jellyfishattack says:

      In all fairness, Canadians are notoriously ignorant of Spanish, it does not appear on any of our packaging.  We can’t even say “hello” in Spanish.  When I was a kid, I thought that they spoke “Mexican” in Mexico. ;)

  29. Drinkin’ my coughee and thinkin’ of Mr. Colin Powell – Chillun! Lissen! call it aftershave

  30. This particular twitter search (with more entries) is number one on this list that I saw about an hour ago…


  31. Ian Brewer says:

    Oh, I get it, colon :

    It’s all in the punctuation.

  32. teapot says:

    Hate to spoil everyone’s fun (what am I talking about? I love doing it!) but my guess is that we are laughing at many people who are merely tweeting in their non-native language. When you all start tweeting in error-free Spanish you may resume making fun of people who are trying. “Colônia” is Portugese for cologne and “colonia” is the Spanish and “acqua di colonia” would be the Italian, so it’s pretty clear that a majority of these are simple mistranslations.


    (Yes, I’ll admit some of these are probably people who should know better, but many of them have Spanish/South-American names & handles… check the link in the article at least half of them are Latino)

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