Kaylee, Kailey, Kaleigh… which spelling is best?

Which spelling of "Kaylee" is best?

Back when I published the first version of this post — using the SSA’s 2012 baby name data — the name Kaylee was the 34th most popular name for U.S. baby girls.

(It’s highest-ever usage had been a few years earlier, in 2009.)

But, while “Kaylee” was the most popular (and perhaps most intuitive?) spelling of the name, it certainly wasn’t the only spelling being used. Other popular variants included…

  • Kaylee, 34th (given to 5,625 baby girls)
  • Kayleigh, 265th (1,227)
  • Kailey, 415th (757)
  • Kaylie, 429th (730)
  • Kailee, 737th (377)
  • Kaleigh, 797th (336)
  • Kaley, 1,049th (240)
  • Kayley, 1,133rd (217)
  • Kayli, 1,500th (149)
  • Kaily, 1,865th (108)

And, of course, there were dozens more. Some examples: Kaylei, Kaileigh, Kaili, Kaylea, Kaeli, Kailea, Kaely, Kaeleigh, Kayleigh, Kailie, Kaelee, Kayelee, Kaelie, Kaileah, Kailei, Kayly, Kaeley, Kayliee, and Kayeleigh. (Not to mention all the spellings that start with “C”!)

Which spelling of Kaylee do you prefer? Why?

P.S. A decade later, the entire name-group is not as trendy as it once was. The most popular spelling is still Kaylee, though it now ranks 139th. Kayleigh and Kailey are still in the top 1,000, but Kaylie, Kailee, and Kaleigh have since dropped out.

[Latest update: Jan. 2023]

24 thoughts on “Kaylee, Kailey, Kaleigh… which spelling is best?

  1. I had a good friend in high school named Kaylee, it always seemed like such a bright happy name to me :-) I know it gets a lot of flack for being modern or trendy or what have you, but I still think its a great name.

  2. I find the whole Kaylee group of names rather insubstantial. Cute, but not a name for a brilliant, independent adult. When I have to write it down, I go with Kaley

  3. Apparently anything goes, but I would vote for Kaylee as it’s the most intuitive and easiest to explain. Kay + Lee. Some of the spellings, like Kaily, look completely random.

  4. In my head there is a difference in pronounciation for those that start with Kai-. Those, to me, would be pronounced KYE-lee not KAY-lee.

  5. I think Kayleigh is a very nice look of spelling but to way long and Kaylee is way simpler

  6. In my personal opinion i think the spelling (Kayleigh) is the nicest and the way it looks it very nice and pretty and i like the way its long.

  7. @Kaleagh C – Your spelling is too rare to have ever appeared in the U.S. data. :)

    The cut-off for inclusion is 5 babies per gender, per year. So, in every year on record so far, fewer than 5 babies have been named “Kaleagh.”

  8. I love the way my name is spelled but I think it’s a little short (Kayli). I also like Kaeleigh I love the E in it!

  9. I like kaylea pronouced (kay lee) it’s unique and different from every one else. But some like to pronounce it kay le ah.

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