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Posted at 4:18 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Gaddafi, Gadhafi, Qaddafi? Will the real Kadhafi spelling please stand up?

By Melissa Bell
gaddafi

"According to Twitter trending topics it's spelled Gaddafi in D.C., but nationally it's Qaddafi and worldwide Gadafi/Kadhafi," Garance Franke-Ruta, an Atlantic correspondent, wrote on Twitter Monday night.

While Libya revolts against its autocratic government, the world struggles to spell the target of the protesters' name. Is it Moammar Gaddafi or Gadhafi? Both spellings could be found on the Washington Post Web site this weekend. The Stylebook at the Post has it as Gaddafi. The Stylebook at the Associated Press has it as Gadhafi.

An old Libyan Web site from 2005 had it as Qadhafi.org. The Library of Congress has the "Name Authority Record," as Muammar Qaddafi. In 2009, ABC News created a list of 112 variations of the spelling of the name.

The confusion stems from a lack of a unified transliteration of Arabic spelling and has been a persistent confusion since at least 1986, when The Straight Dope wrote:

Lord knows I hate to be critical, but the proliferation of spellings for the name of Libya's head dude has been one of the continuing scandals of American journalism. I mean, come on, we're trying to plumb this guy's psychic depths and we can't even get his name straight? Sometimes I shudder for the future of my country.

Here are a few other puzzled people playing the name game:

Will the Libyan leader lose power before the West agrees on how to spell his name? I've seen Gadhafi, Khadafy, Qaddafi and Gaddafi today.less than a minute ago via web

(it's either Hummus, Houmous, Hummos, el-Quadaffi, or "The Colonel") RT @pridespring How do you spell Kadafi? Gaddafi? Gadhafi?less than a minute ago via web

Soon it will be over & we will have gone thru 42 yrs w/ Qaddafi ruling Libya w/o consensus on how 2 spell his name. #Qaddafi #Gaddafi #oyveyless than a minute ago via Syrinx

By Melissa Bell  | February 22, 2011; 4:18 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gaddafi: Libyan leader's scandals over the years
Next: ♪♫ Thom Yorke gets remade by the Internet

Comments

Looking closely at his picture you can plainly see that he is really Bob Dylan.

Posted by: Harvey_D | February 22, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

duffy the cartoon character is more of a fit for him ~ I am a believer that Kad'a duffy duff, duffing duff and all the duffings of Kad'affy duffs willl be gone soon ~ he thinks he is sexy ! ha with all his clown outfits that use toooo much fabric~ what a waste of fabric~ he thinks he is sexy! the textile industry in China is thriving because of him, i can't stop laughing!~ c'mon let's laugh~ WE WILL have the LAST LAUGH at Kad'a'ffy duffs and his likes !
I think Obama was jealous of Kad'a'dafy many costumes of Halloween, Obama asked kaddafi to buy the fabric for his costumes from USA instead of China, but Kad'a'daffy refused, so Obama got upset ~ hahahah~

Posted by: sdrainbow | February 22, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

You say, Gaddafi, we say Qaddafi. Other variations on the leader of Libya include "Gathafi," "Kadafi," and "Gadafy," creating an unholy mess for newspaper editors.

Posted by: sdrainbow | February 22, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

You say, Gaddafi, we say Qaddafi. Other variations on the leader of Libya include "Gathafi," "Kadafi," and "Gadafy," creating an unholy mess for newspaper editors.

Posted by: sdrainbow | February 22, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

You say, Gaddafi, we say Qaddafi. Other variations on the leader of Libya include "Gathafi," "Kadafi," and "Gadafy," creating an unholy mess for newspaper editors.

Posted by: sdrainbow | February 22, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Daffy of Kad' A' Daffi and his duffs ~

I am a believer that Kad'a duffy duff, duffing duff and all the dufflings of Kad'affy duffs willl be gone soon ~

he thinks he is sexy !

ha with all his clown outfits that use toooo much fabric~ what a waste of fabric~ he thinks he is sexy! the textile industry in China is thriving because of him, I can't stop laughing!~

c'mon let's laugh~ WE WILL have the LAST LAUGH at Kad'a'ffy duffs and his likes ! Promise you that ~! it's only a matter of days! have faith and let's laugh for now~

hahaha! too much fabric is used for his various Halloween outfits, China is getting rich from his textile purchases! I need to laugh at this guy like he has laughed at all the Libyans for 41 years~!

c'mon, let's laugh ~ between laughter and cry, between sadness and madness is a thin like. Kad' A ' Daffy duffy Duff is a great example~ ya, his green book is an inspiration to all the idiots of the earth~! of his and of same of his ~

Here is a quote for you from his Holy Green book

>

some kind of joke !

Kaddafi duffy duff ~ a Mass Murderer in many clown costumes ~ tumble , tumble ~ "Irhal", "Degage", "Get out" is our United Slogan to Qaddafi, Kad a' daffy, duffy, Kadd'a duffy ~ Daffy the Cartoon Character from Libya ~

I can't stop saying kad'a' duffy duffy duff ~ haha, go ahead repeat it with me 3 times in a row ~ it's a tongue twister. Even International newpapers today are all asking what is the correct spelling for this guy's name, no one is sure how to spell his name, I mead how to spell him OUT ~ ha :)

It's a poker game, a card game ~ between politicians~ it aint about human rights, genocide, your rights or mine, it's nothing more than a poker game and the pursuit of OIL between politicians my friend~

Posted by: sdrainbow | February 22, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I feel like I entered Comedy Central when I was looking for CSPAN. How do we come to be joking about this evil man's name when he's killing people in the streets? The Post should have a warning that this link is for jokers.

Posted by: arkayak | February 22, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

It's very hard to find consensus on such names. Even today you will find people talking about Usama Bin Laden.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Having studied a bit of Arabic I can tell you that transliteration is not easy, nor very standardized, and it's complicated by broad variations in dialect. letters pronounced one way in "Modern Standard Arabic" are pronounced various ways in diverse Arab lands. Egypt has its own dialect (conspicuously what most Arabs pronounce as a J Egyptians pronounce as a hard G.) I don't know the Libyan dialect(s) at all, but assuming MSA pronunciations the best explanation I've seen of this question is at http://my.umbc.edu/groups/usdemocrazy/news/4500 -- although I would prefer "Qadhaafi" to their "Qathaafii" but that differentiation only highlights the problems in transliteration.

Posted by: starjack | February 23, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I hope that this is the last gasp of his paranoia, because the sacrifices of the Libyan people to get rid of him should not go to waste. Videos I get at http://fms.nu/gnfRcJ was very much scandalous.God bless those Libyans who gave their lives to bring some sanity into the government of their country.

Posted by: mastermind7526 | February 23, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The correct spelling has ALWAYS been
C A L I G U L A ...

Posted by: RichardKlecka | February 24, 2011 2:16 AM | Report abuse

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