25 Comments

Have you ever wondered which is the correct spelling: aunty or auntie? Maybe you’ve just made a bet with your sibling and you’re here to prove them wrong, or you’re sending Christmas cards and want to get the spelling right.

Well, actually, ‘aunty’ and ‘auntie’ are just informal versions of the word ‘aunt’, and so both are okay to use. But if you’re really pedantic, and you absolutely need to know if it’s aunty or auntie…

What the dictionaries say about aunty or auntie

The ever trustworthy Dictionary.com, Google, Wikipedia and the Cambridge English Dictionary redirect ‘aunty’ to ‘auntie’, so the latter is most likely more correct. The Merriam-Webster dictionary also does this, and claims the first use of ‘auntie’ was in 1672. However, they don’t reference how they know this or explain more about the story.

Aunty or auntie depends on where you are

Based on my research, I get the gist that whether you use aunty or auntie depends on where you are geographically and culturally. Aussies tend to use ‘aunty’ more, whilst the Brits use ‘auntie’. Both use aunty or auntie to refer to our Broadcasting Corporations, the ABC and the BBC. According to the infallible Wikipedia, Aussies adopted ‘Aunty’ as a name for our ABC in imitation of the English nickname ‘Auntie’ for their BBC.

Use in reference to Indigenous Australian women

The term aunty or auntie is also used as a term of respect to refer to an older Indigenous Australian woman, who may or may not be related to the speaker. Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians can use ‘aunty’ or ‘auntie’ towards a woman of high esteem and earned respect, but non-Indigenous Australians should always ask whether this is appropriate. If you’re wondering how to address an aunty or auntie in your local Aboriginal community non-verbally, for example writing a letter, email, or mentioning her online, you should simply ask her how she would like to be referred to.

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Which do you think is right, aunty or auntie? Tell us in the comments below!

  • It’s always been Aunty to me, and I was born in England but educated in Australia. I would use Auntie with an s as a plural. I’ve never said Aunt.

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  • Growing up, I always used Auntie when referring to my aunts. However now that I’m a mum, I’ve noticed others referring to themselves as Aunty.

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  • Aunty. Auntie looks wrong to me!

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  • I’m not an Aunty but everyone I know writes it “Aunty” and I’m sure I would too if I ever became an aunty

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  • I had several and I was to spell it as Auntie. I notice some of my nieces spell it with a Y and have only changed to that within the last 4 years (when another baby came along)

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  • Aunty. I also use Nanna not nana. I suppose it really is a personal preference.

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  • Aunty. What about Nana or Nanna?

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  • Aunty is what I have always used on cards and letters

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  • Aunty for me!

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  • When my girl got her first birthday card from her aunt she had written Auntie. I showed it to my husband saying “wow and she’s an English teacher “ to which my husband (who is also an English teacher) replied that both Aunty and auntie are correct! But really why is this even a topic? More important things to consider.

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  • I have always used Aunty as the spelling,but I think both are correct

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  • It really comes down to tradition and each family for the use of the word.

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  • I use auntie

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  • I’ve always used Auntie. I don’t think the spelling matters as much as use of the honorific. ????

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  • I didn’t know better then it was aunty and that whilst my husband has the British nationality !

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