These Are the Most Misspelled Countries in the World

Chelsea Bengier
·3 mins read

It's not easy to remember all 195 nations on the planet, and it's certainly not a simple task to spell them correctly. However, a select number of countries are particularly tricky due to their double letters or string of consonants. But the one that trips people up the most in the U.S. isn't actually that difficult—its issue is that Americans tend to associate it with our capital. Yes, Colombia, a country on the northern coast of South America (not to be confused with the District of Columbia), has the most misspelled name in the world. People misspell it so often that there's been a social media campaign for years called "It's Colombia, NOT Columbia."

If you'd like to learn more about it, as well as discover what other countries on the map you're likely spelling incorrectly, then read on. And for more places you're probably butchering, This Is the Most Mispronounced Town in the U.S.

1

Colombia

Street in walled city in Cartagena Colombia with people walking
Street in walled city in Cartagena Colombia with people walking

This South American country trips people up both in spelling and pronunciation. It could be because Americans assume that Colombia is spelled with a "u" like the District of Columbia or the popular athletic apparel brand. The mistake is so common that a group of Colombians created a digital campaign in 2013 to call out the error online and in the media. Their Facebook group has now racked up 30,000 followers. And for more tough terms, These Are the Most Commonly Misspelled Words in the Country.

2

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan

There are a lot of consonants in the names of the seven Asian countries with the -stan suffix, especially Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. But the one that really seems trickiest is Kyrgyzstan. And for more hard phrases, check out The 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in America.

3

Morocco

mosque in marrakech
mosque in marrakech

Is it Morroco, Morrocco, or Morocco? For some reason the "r" and "c" in this country on the coast of North Africa really throw people for a loop. To set the record straight, it's supposed to be spelled with only one "r" and two "c" letters.

4

Bosnia and Herzegovina

bridge in mostar, bosnia and herzegovina
bridge in mostar, bosnia and herzegovina

You have twice the chance of messing up this country in the Balkans. The first word is pretty simple, however the second is another story. Whatever you do, please avoid spelling it like Hertz, the car rental company.

5

Mauritius

aerial and panoramic view of mauritius
aerial and panoramic view of mauritius

Mauritius is a stunning island in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Madagascar. However, unlike its neighbor, the country's name is not straightforward in spelling. Mauritius (pronounced More-ISH-is) has two "u" letters that often get overlooked. And for more interesting information delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

6

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein

As one of the smallest nations in Europe, Liechtenstein regularly falls under the radar. So we wouldn't be surprised if you don't know it as well—and therefore butcher its name. It also doesn't help that it has an "ie" in the front half and the "ei" in the latter.

7

Philippines

Boracay, Philippines Magical Islands National Geographic bee questions
Boracay, Philippines Magical Islands National Geographic bee questions

The Philippines may not be as difficult as, say, Mississippi, but the name is still a bit tricky thanks to the repeating letters. Don't flub the spelling by using a double "l" instead of the correct double "p."

8

Andorra

andorra National Geographic bee questions
andorra National Geographic bee questions

You might pause your pen when you first think of this tiny European nation sandwiched between France and Spain. Though you may assume it's spelled like Dora, don't forget to add in the extra "r."

9

Djibouti

View on Gulf of Tadjourah, Djibouti, East Africa
View on Gulf of Tadjourah, Djibouti, East Africa

If you were to write this East African country the way you pronounce it (Ja-BOO-tee), you'd be way off base. Don't let the sneaky silent "d" fool you, nor the "i" that sounds like an "a" when you say it out loud. And for more tongue-twisters, check out The Most Mispronounced Places in America.