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How Many Ways Can You Spell MacKenzie?

Updated on December 02, 2016
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P. Williams has a background in statistical analysis and has always been fascinated by the origins of names.

Scotland, origin of the name MacKenzie
Scotland, origin of the name MacKenzie

Between the years 2000 and 2010, MacKenzie / Mackenzie / McKenzie was a wildly popular unisex baby name. But like many polysyllabic names that have "k," "z," and "ie" sounds, it can be spelled in a multitude of ways. For example, Makenzi, Mykynzie, and Mackensee are just of few of the possible spelling variations.

So just how many ways to spell MacKenzie are there? If you use combinatorics, you will find there are 1,200 different spellings. That's right, over a thousand! If you attempted to count the spellings by enumeration, you'd likely miss a few or accidentally write the same spelling twice, but with math you can find them much more efficiently and accurately. Here we show how to work out the calculation, discuss the meaning and origin of the name MacKenzie, and look at the most common spellings according to US census data.

How to Count All the Different Ways of Writing Mackenzie

The number of ways to spell Mackenzie is equal to the number of ways to spell the first syllable "MacK" times the number of ways to spell the second syllable "en" times the number of ways to make a "z" sound times the number of ways to make an "ie" sound. In other words, it is a product of the number of ways to write each of these four sound elements. The table below lists all the possibilities for each element.

Ways to Spell the "MacK" Part
Ways to Spell the "en" Part
Ways to Spell the "z" Part
Ways to Spell the "ie" Part
Mac **
En **
Enn **
Total = 2
Mc **
Total = 6
Total = 6 + 2 **
Total = 16 + 2 **

Important: In the first and second columns, the components with the asterisks** must be matched together to preserve the hard "c" or "k" sound in the name.

There are 16 non-asterisked elements in the first column and 6 non-asterisked elements in the second column, which gives 16*6 = 96 ways to combine them. There are 2 asterisked elements in both the first and second columns, which gives 2*2 = 4 ways to combine these elements. Therefore, there are 96 + 4 = 100 ways to spell the first two syllables.

Now multiply this by the 2 ways to make a "z" sound, and then multiply this by the 6 ways to make an "ie" sound and you get 100*2*6 = 1200 plausible ways to spell Mackenzie. Here are a few examples:

M'Kennzi, Makhensy, Mackensay, McEnzee, MacEnnzie, Makynzie, Mekenzey

To generate a spelling variant, you simply take one element from each column. The vast majority of the combinations are weird spellings not in common use, but they are all plausible.

Origin and Meaning of the Name MacKenzie

MacKenzie, McKenzie, Mackenzie are variants of a Scottish surname. MacKenzie is the angicized version of MacCoinnich, which means son of Coinneach. Coinneach is a Scots Gaelic name that roughly translates as handsome. Today it is a popular first name for both boys and girls. In fact, more girls are named MacKenzie and variants thereof than boys.

Many geographic places and landmarks in the US and Canada bear the name MacKenzie, and as people are often named after places, this may account for some of its popularity.

Most Common Spellings of MacKenzie/ Mackenzie / McKenzie

Despite there being 1,200 possible spellings of the name, the "kree8tyv" spellings are comparatively rare. The traditional spellings are far more prevalent. According the US census and birth records data, the most popular three spellings are

  • (1) MacKenzie / Mackenzie: Approximately 1 in 2803 people have this name, with the peak popularity between 1998 and 2004.
  • (2) McKenzie / Mckenzie: Approximately 1 in 6604 people have this name, with the peak popularity between 2000 and 2015
  • (3) Makenzie: Approximately 1 in 10,480 people have this name, with the peak popularity between 2005 and 2015.

Unfortunately the data doesn't distinguish between names with one capital and two. All told, about 1 in every 1650 people in the US is named MacKenzie in some form.

Famous Mackenzies

  • MacKenzie Bezos (Female) - Wife of Jeff Bezos, founder of
  • Mackenzie Phillips (Female) - American actress
  • Mackenzie Astin (Male) - American actor and son of Patty Duke
  • MacKenzie Morgan McHale (Female) - Fictional character on The Newsroom, portrayed by Emily Mortimer

Actress Mackenzie Phillips
Actress Mackenzie Phillips


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      M'Kynnsy 2 years ago

      What's the point of giving your kid a "kree8tyv" moniker? Everyone will correctly assume you are ghetto and wrongly spell your name.

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      P Williams 2 years ago from France

      I can't say I understand the logic either.

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      Makenzie 2 years ago

      Well there is another girl in my grade named Makenzie like me I thought it was more common than the other 2 ways to spell it. M'Kynnzy lol.

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      K.M. 2 years ago

      My first name is Kristen and my middle name is Mackenzie. How many ways are there to spell Kristen? Then how many ways are there total to spell the combination Kristen Mackenzie?

    • paxwill profile image

      P Williams 2 years ago from France

      I did another article on the number of ways to spell Kristen so you can check it out for yourself. Thanks for stopping by!

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      Hannah 2 years ago

      Mackensie, Madison, Hunter, Emerson, Kennedy, Addison, etc. those surnames-as-girls-names are so passe' now. People are going back to the classics now ... Elisabeth, Catherine, Mary, Ava, Sarah, Sophia, Anne.

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