alphabet rhyme

First name alphabet

The First Name Alphabet is a widely used spelling alphabet in the United States in an effort to clarify which word has been said. Finance professionals frequently use the First Name Alphabet when spelling out stock tickers. Although many names begin with each letter of the alphabet, the First Name Alphabet is the result of general consensus.


Within the U.S, the need to clarify the letter-by-letter spelling of words dates back to at least 1913, when the United States Navy settled on an alphabet of mostly monosyllabic words such as Boy, Fox, and George for this purpose. The increasing prevalence of communication by telephone since then has only increased the need for such an alphabet, due to the inability to simultaneously listen and lip read, thus taking advantage of the McGurk effect. For example, the letters "B" and "V" are often confused by those not communicating face-to-face, and to compound this confusion, seven other letters of the alphabet rhyme with these two letters. As a result, the need arose for an agreed-upon method of identifying each letter by a word that begins with that letter. The Military alphabet was designed for this purpose, and those in the military continue to use the Military Alphabet. However, for the general populace, and finance professionals in particular, entries such as "November" for the letter N and "Kilo" for the letter K are generally considered too hard to remember, and an alternative alphabet arose. Common first names were a popular choice, and as a result the First Name Alphabet, first compiled by the financial firm JSC, has become quite commonly used.

The First Name Alphabet

The First Name Alphabet is as follows:

Letter Name
A Adam
B Bob
C Carol
D David
E Eddie
F Frank
G George
H Harry
I Ike
J Jim
K Kenny
L Larry
M Mary
N Nancy
O Oliver
P Peter
Q Quincy
R Roger
S Sam
T Thomas
U Uncle
V Vincent
W William
X Xavier
Y Yogi
Z Zachary


Although it is widely agreed upon, there exist constituents of the First Name Alphabet that are disputed by some.

For example, the Military Alphabet actually does contain some first names, such as Charlie, Juliet, Mike, Oscar, and Romeo. Although some have attempted to merge these two alphabets, the general trend among users of the First Name Alphabet is to eschew all names that were present in the Military Alphabet. Therefore, these names are not a part of the First Name Alphabet.

Another point of contention revolves around the fact that Uncle represents the letter U. Some critics have complained that Uncle should be removed in favor of a "true first name" such as Ursula, Ugueth, or Ulysses. However, these names are extremely uncommon, and it could potentially take several seconds to come up with a name that starts with U. This fact, combined with the prevalence of celebrities such as Uncle Kracker, has led to the acceptance of Uncle as a viable first name under these circumstances.

Some have taken issue with the imbalance of male and female names in the first name alphabet because male names comprise 88.4% of it. The reasons for this imbalance are unclear. Due to its origins, the most common hypothesis for the lack of feminine representation in the First Name Alphabet is that finance professionals, who are more often male, simply used names of their other male colleagues. Some alphabet users likely view this as a natural occurrence while others view it as blatant discrimination. As for the reasons behind the nominal disparity, others argue that historically, many female names have been derived from male names (e.g. Olivia, Petra, Samantha), and that it would only make sense to use the original male name in this context.


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