It was painful listening to a co-worker spelling his name for someone on the other end of the phone today.

He got all the letters wrong.

He said, “It’s spelled M-I-K-E. “M” as in Mumble, “I” as in “I Don’t know”, “K” as in “Kite” and “E” as in Egg”.

I was about to say, “No. That should be “Mike, India, Romeo, Echo.” but then I thought, why not mix it up a bit?

How about, “It’s spelled M-I-K-E.  That’s “M” as in mnemonic, “I” as in Ian, “K” as in knot and “E” as in eye?”

After a few Google searches (and and addition or two) to the lists found on the Internets, I present the Straight or Twisted Phonetic and Non-Phonetic guide to spelling with words:

Straight Twisted
A for Alpha or Aye, Aisle or Aesop (ee-sop), Auxilary, Aubergine and Aegis
B Bravo Bdellium
C Charlie Cue, or Cay
D Delta Double U
E Echo Eye, or ewe, or eugenics, essay, eucalyptus, and euphoria
F Fox Trot Fhear (hear … Irish for are)
G Golf Gnu, or gnat, gnarly, gnostic, gnome, gaol, and gnaw
H Hotel Hier or Hour, honor, honest and herbivore
I India Ian or iguana, immersion and Iapetus
J Juliet Juan or Junta, Jaeger, Javier and Jalapeno
K Kilo Knot, or knew, knickers, knight, knowledge, knob, know and knife
L Lima Llama
M Mike Mnemonic
N November Enter or Nguyen (wen)
O Oscar Oesophagus
P Papa Phonetic or Pneumonia, pneumatic, psalm, pterodactyl and psycho
Q Quebec Quay (pronounced ‘key’)
R Romeo Wed (the color) or R(w)omulus and R(w)emus
S Sierra Sea, or See and seedy
T Tango Tsar or Tchaikovsky
U Uniform Utu (oo-too)
V Victor Vundabar
W Whiskey Why or wriggle, wrestle, whole, wrist, wraith, wrath and wrong
X X-Ray Xylophone, xenophobe, xanthem
Y Yankee You or yew, Yvette and Yvonne
Z Zulu Zsa Zsa


Caution: Handle with Care – Use of the twisted version may seriously disrupt your international travel reservations and other important communications.

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