Philip and Phillip

I’ve long been under the possible misapprehension that Philip and Phillip are different spellings of the same name. Along perhaps the lines of Frances and Francis being the female and male versions of a name, or Ian and John being the same name but coming from different linguistic roots (Gaelic (and also Iain, Euan and so on) and English).

Actually looking it up it appears that just about everyone is a Philip. So, is Phillip my just potentially misspelling a word for these 53 years?

33 thoughts on “Philip and Phillip”

  1. Double L looks right to me so obviously I have been under the same delusion. Or is it that surnames more often have the double L and being chaps of a certain age who went to decent schools we only ever knew people by surname? And musing on doubling Mr Google revealed this snippet.. “Professor Philip Phillips received his bachelor’s degree from Walla Walla College in 1979”

  2. The common noun “fillip” uses the double-L spelling.

    I haven’t met anyone who goes by Philip in a long time – they all prefer Phil.

  3. I don’t know if it’s still open for business, but for many years there was a Dutch electronics company called Phillips with two ells and you would see their radios everywhere.

  4. “Phillip” is, as far as I know, just a common misspelling of “Philip”. Once an error is common enough it becomes part of the language. Why it is particularly common in surnames I’ve no idea: perhaps because once the error is made it’s frozen, whereas with Christian names you get a chance each generation to correct them.

    It’s not just English that has anomalies: why does a Filipino come from the Philippines? Dunno.

  5. Dearie me. Filipino comes from the Spanish spellings. In Tagalog they are called Pilipino and the country is Pilipinas.

  6. “Filipino comes from the Spanish spellings.” Thank you, but that’s not really an explanation of the anomaly. Why give the country’s name in an English spelling, and the citizens’ in a Spanish spelling? Not that it matters.

  7. When I was at school in Wales, we would be beaten by a prefect – L.J.Phillips, for calling him ‘Phlaaaapps’.

    One day, I hope to meet him in a cold dark alley and although he will be three years older than me, I’ll get my own back, especially to atone for his five strokes with a number seven iron.


  8. Bloke in Costa Rica

    One ‘l’ is the canonical form, I think, with two as a non-standard variant. Bit like Mark and Marc or Jonathan and Johnathon.

  9. @Bilbaoboy, August 7, 2016 at 5:01 pm
    “Philips still exists but has moved out of small electrical goods”

    Err, lighting (largest manufacturer of lighting in the world) and Sonicare toothbrushes are two of their small electrical goods ranges.


  10. Dearieme, I have no idea but that’s another English anomaly. There’s no anomaly in Tagalog (or Spanish I presume).

  11. Philips had been in the business of servicing and repairing X-Ray equipment of all makes for many years. I think they also make X-Ray equipment but don’t know for sure.

  12. Philips still exists but has moved out of small electrical goods

    No, they still make toothbrushes, electric razors, lightbulbs, TVs, DVD players, etc. but they make most of their money from medical equipment now I think. I spent a few weeks in Eindhoven in 2012, which for a while was basically a Philips company town (they still have a huge presence there). The football club PSV Eindhoven takes its name from them (PSV = Philips Sporting Club in Dutchese).

    Incidentally, the reason the EU was so keen to ban cheap Chinese lightbulbs was to protect Philips’ manufacturing operations in the EU. What, you thought it was to protect the consumer?!

  13. Phillip as a first name is quite common Down Under.

    As is pretty much any misspelled name, and weird made-up name. Pal of mine has just had a daughter they’ve named Jaya. I get the impression Australia is a continent-sized Essex.

  14. Phillip is a rare forename and is usually used when someone is named after someone else’s surname (from Phillips). That said, Philip is also a relatively rare forname – in England and Wales, Philip is approximately twice as popular as Phillip.

  15. “Incidentally, the reason the EU was so keen to ban cheap Chinese lightbulbs was to protect Philips’ manufacturing operations in the EU.”
    This. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t let this nasty bit of corporate socialism slip down the memory hole. I can’t see the Osram or Philips brands without being reminded of it.

  16. “Mango” would be an attractive name for a little girl. Someone else’s girl, mind.

    I still haven’t managed to get anyone to name their girl “Chanterelle”.

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