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Phonix / Phoeniz / Phenoix / Poenix / Phonenix / Phoenix - Why is it so hard to spell?

Updated on June 27, 2011
They don't look very reasonable. Try to spell their name properly to avoid destruction.
They don't look very reasonable. Try to spell their name properly to avoid destruction.

Phoeniz/Phenoix/Poenix/Phonenix: Why is it so hard to spell?

(Note: Phenoix, Phoeniz, Poenix, and Phonenixis are common misspellings of the word Phoenix.)

This page details a brief history of the mythical Phoenix, and the common misspellings of the word, Phoeniz/Phenoix/Poenix.

A Phoenix is a fire bird from ancient mythology. Although the appearance of the animal varies based on the culture in which the story derives, in general the Phoenix has a gold and scarlet tail with colourful plumage. The Phoenix is characterised by an extremely long, fixed life span (in the order of 500 to 1000 years) at the end of which, the phoenix builds a nest of twigs, which it then ignites, burning both the nest and itself. Out of the ashes of this a new phoenix emerges, which repeats the process.

It’s a powerful, symbolic story that touches on themes of rebirth &resistance to adversity, among others.

However, just because the phoenix is continually re-born after death, does not mean we should constantly murder the spelling of its name!

6 Most Popular Misspellings of the word Phoenix (Phoeniz/Phenoix/Poenix)

Think you’re the only one who can’t spell this word? Think again! Research shows that on average around 12,000 searches are conducted every single day for misspellings and variations on the word Phoenix.

So here’s the top ways in which Phoenix is misspelled, from least popular to most popular:

6. Phoinex

5. Phonenix

4. Poenix

3. Phenoix

2. Phoeniz

1. Phonix

Of course, the number one result (phonix) could be a misspelling of the word Phonics.

What's the Difference?

Phonics is a method of teaching that aims to teach how to connect the sounds of spoken English with letters or groups of letters.

Ironically, we use phonics to teach that the letters O & E in phoenix produce the sound EE. Thus, to spell the word phoenix the way it actually sounds, we could write “feenix.”

Spelling matters. It really does.
Spelling matters. It really does.

So Why is it so Hard to Remember the Spelling of Phoenix (Phoeniz/Phenoix/Poenix)?

The combination of the letters O & E to produce an “EE” sound is very counter-intuitive. In the case of the word Phoenix, the reason for this is due to the ancient Greek origin of the word – the combination of the letters O & E beside each other in a word is a common characteristic of the Greek language.

A similar combination of letters which often confuses a reader in their pronunciation is the letters A & E – again, of Greek origin.

Here’s a Tip on How to Remember the Correct Spelling of Phoenix (Phoeniz/Phenoix/Poenix):

This tip applies to almost any word you have trouble spelling: break up the word into manageable chunks.

So for phoenix, we could break it down into Pho & Enix.

Then, try to associate something memorable or significant to each of the individual parts of the word. What you use to associate each part of the word is irrelevant. As long as it is significant to you and will help you to remember it.

An example?

For me, when I see the word Pho my first recollection is of Phobos, a moon of Mars. And when I see the word Enix, I recall a famous Japanese company that specialises in Japanese animation (manga).

So in my mind, to remember the word Phoenix, I imagine a moon or planet, and a Japanese animation company.

It doesn’t make much sense logically – but it sure helps with the spelling!

So drunk he couldn't even spell his own name. Respect.
So drunk he couldn't even spell his own name. Respect.
River Phoenix
River Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

The Phoenix (Phoeniz/Phenoix/Poenix) in Popular Culture:

The phoenix captures the imagination – with it’s colourful plumage and strongly symbolic nature it’s little wonder that the phoenix has found a home within popular culture.

Here’s some references to the word “phoenix” that you’re probably familiar with:

Famous people:

Joaquin Phoenix: With his first name pronounced “wakeen,” if you thought spelling phoenix was hard, this guy must get awfully tired of spelling his name for others. You probably know him as Emperor Commodus from the movie Gladiator, or Johnny Cash from the movie Walk the Line.  

River Phoneix: The trend of unusual names continues with River Phoenix. Unsurprising really, as he was the brother of Joaquin, above. A talented musician and actor, unfortunately he died from a drug overdose in 1993.  


Phoenix, Arizona: Phoenix is the capital of the US State of Arizona, and the 5th largest city in the US.

On top of that, several sporting teams around the world use the phoenix as their mascot, or include it in their team name.


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    • profile image

      anon 4 years ago

      Was the misspelling of River Phoenix's surname intentional...?

    • ilmdamaily profile image

      ilmdamaily 7 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

      Great advice Rafini - thanks:-)

    • Rafini profile image

      Rafini 7 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      Interesting hub on the Phoenix. For me the best way to remember how to spell it is to break it down into syllables. Phoe Nix. Then it begins to make sense, lol, for whatever reason the O is silent!

    • ceciliabeltran profile image

      Cecilia 7 years ago from New York

      In that case, this hub is brilliant. I do have a Phoenix fixation as well, but more on its mythical aspect. I might write a hub on it soon and maybe hook up with this SEO experiment.;)

    • ilmdamaily profile image

      ilmdamaily 7 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

      lol thanks Cecilia;-)

      It seems weird, but this hub was actually an SEO experiment in how easy and/or useful it is to rank on google for misspellings.

      Apparently quite easy. But not very useful.

    • ceciliabeltran profile image

      Cecilia 7 years ago from New York

      I am amazed at the fixation with the spelling. Shows your respect for the word.