Gadhafi, Kaddafi or Gathafi? Libyan Leader’s Name Game Gets a New Twist

BY News Desk  August 25, 2011 at 11:41 AM EDT

There are dozens of different spellings of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s name used by news organizations and governments alike. Search “Gadhafi” on Google and you’ll receive 23,300,000 results, while a search for “Gaddafi” (a mere one letter difference) will yield 61,300,000 hits.

So what’s correct? Part of the struggle involves translating Gadhafi’s name from Arabic. Many organizations have adopted one style to be consistent and stuck with it. The latest twist, as surfaced by the Atlantic, is a video still that shows someone going through a diplomatic passport that purports to belong to Gadhafi’s oldest son, Mohammed. The spelling used on the passport is “Gathafi.”


The Christian Science Monitor has checked Gadhafi’s official website for a correct translation and deduced that the banner at the top of the site spells it “AL Gathafi,” but further in the site it is spelled “Al Qaddafi” and other ways.

So don’t expect much clarity soon – and like the Atlantic, who is sticking to “Qaddafi,” The Rundown will stick with the “Gadhafi” spelling for the foreseeable future.