As you know some single words may be written in various forms, e.g.like nosy and nosey or Noruz may be written Norooz, Narooz, Nawru, Nauruz, Nawroz, Noruz, Nohrooz, Novruz, Nauroz, Navroz.

In Persian dokme/tokme , zoqal/z̤oqal, belit/beliṭ ,...

In Linguistics we say: Noruoz is ????? of Noruz.

Such words have same pronunciation or a very similar pronunciation. They have same origin but when are enter to another language they are written differently.

A lot of such words can be found in this forum thread: Multiple Spellings of the Same Word.

Please suggest a single word for indicated area, e.g. Polygraph

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  • alternate spellings.
    – user483
    Nov 15, 2012 at 17:50
  • @jlovegren I suggested that too elsewhere, but the OP said he wanted a single term (which I doubt exists).
    – Alenanno
    Nov 15, 2012 at 20:12
  • 4
    how about allographs?
    – user483
    Nov 15, 2012 at 21:21
  • 1
    As I said once before: They're just variant transliterations. Remember the fuss about what the real spelling of Gaddafi's name was? It's spelled in Arabic, so it doesn't have a proper spelling in Latin-alphabet languages, and each has their own way of dealing with Arabic. Plus styles change. There is no special monomorphemic term for such a transcriptional mess.
    – jlawler
    Nov 15, 2012 at 21:28
  • 1
    Alternate transliteration is the closest to describing that situation.
    – jlawler
    Nov 15, 2012 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


The term I've heard most often in linguistic contexts is variant, or more fully variant spelling.

So, for example:

  • Nosey is a common variant of nosy.

  • Favorite and favourite are variants, accepted in American and British English respectively.

  • Colonel Gaddafi's surname has any number of variant spellings when written in the Roman alphabet.

A Google Books search brings up plenty of examples of this in academic writing and in textbooks, so I think it would be generally understood if you used it.

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