Ann or Anne?

I posted some photos of a beautiful stained glass window depicting St. Ann(e) on Instagram earlier this evening (here and here), and found it notable that “St. Ann” was written beneath her image, and then “In memory of Mrs. Anne Quinn” — both spellings on one window.

So I asked how many prefer Ann or Anne and have gotten several responses (Anne by a landslide, which was my grandmother’s spelling, and the one Anne Shirley vastly preferred, and the spelling I always unconsciously default to, though I’m delighted that one follower let us know her middle name is Ann, which is the spelling of my best friend from growing up’s middle name, and she’s an amazing person, so — good company!). I also posted a poll to Twitter and so far everyone’s voted for Anne (three people).

I looked them up, and Anne is the “French form of ANNA. In the 13th-century it was imported to England, where it was also commonly spelled Ann.” Indeed, Ann is described as the “English form of ANNE (1). In the English-speaking world, both this spelling and Anne have been used since the Middle Ages, though Ann became much more popular during the 19th century.” I checked out the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources to see if there was additional info, and discovered the name Tanneken! It’s a diminutive of Ann(e) — I’m loving it! It’s totally the kind of nickname/diminutive that I go nuts for.

Any of you who haven’t yet commented on IG or voted on Twitter — which spelling do you prefer and why?

47 thoughts on “Ann or Anne?

  1. Anne was my confirmation name, in honor of my two great-grandmothers, Anne Elizabeth and Elizabeth Ann. Anne is the French form and my family (although deriving from many cultures) had a large part of French ancestry so I have always preferred the ‘e’ spelling. Plus, of course, the character of Anne Shirley cemented that. Anna seems to be more popular in Polish, another ancestral culture of my family’s.

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  2. Earlier today, I was looking at the medal that I got from the prayer card from you, from when you went to the shrine of St. Anne, and I totally just noticed that on the medal, it says St. Ann! So, I’ve been thinking a lot today about the two different spellings 🙂 As I said on Instagram, I like Anne better. Someone else commented saying that they thought it looked more symmetrical, and I think that is why I like Anne better as well as it looking more complete!

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    • I love that you were looking at the medal today! Yes, I haven’t found either Anne or Ann to be predominant when it comes to St. Anne(e) — I see them both. I live close to Canada, so I think the French spelling is more common here, but even then I do see Ann, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is a great reference for that spelling too.

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  3. Anne by FAR. Ann seems to have something missing. Although I will say that when my mom read Anne of Green Gables to me when I was 8, after we saw the miniseries, she remarked that she’d never heard of the -e spelling before and it does seem true that all the Anns we knew at that time (all older ladies) had no “e”. So I guess the Ann spelling was pretty popular there in the earlier 20th century, at least here in the western US.

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  4. I definitely prefer Anne as a first name. However, for some reason I like either one, maybe even Ann a bit more, in the middle spot. Maybe because the very short names often look so nice there?

    This also made me think of Lynn(e). My middle name is Lynne, same as my mother’s MN. Growing up I seemed to be in the minority there (I had a couple friends with Lynn middle names).

    Liked by 3 people

      • One of my daughters has the middle name Ann, and we chose it bc that was how her paternal grandmother spelled it, but I do like it as the middle especially because her first name and our last name are on the longer side. But if I was using it as a first name, I would lean toward Anne, I think for the symmetry. Funny to think about, because I don’t know that I would change the spelling of any other name based on first vs. middle….

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  5. It’s hard to get a good sense of what spellings are English, what spellings are French when you’re looking at the 13th and 14th C, because most of our records are in Latin, so the name will be spelled Anna. The vernacular forms represented this bisyllabic form — even Anne would’ve been pronounced with two syllables. It wasn’t until the 16th C that you really start seeing Ann in English — where you’ll se it along with the form An!

    So, I’d say Anne has equal claim to being both French and English, but Ann is definitely a specifically English form.

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      • No, it’s silent. But in French they pronounce a final consonant that is followed with a silent “e” really clearly, as opposed to making it nasal if there’s no silent “e”. To English speakers, this can almost sound like a schwa ending, but it’s just a very clear consonant. In some dialects of French (in some African countries), it is emphasized even more strongly. I had a French professor at university who was from Africa and he did almost seem to add a schwa at the end of every silent “e” word, but even with him, it was subtle, and that’s probably the most pronounced case I’ve heard in all my French studies.

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  6. Really love Anne! Reminds me of how much I love Eve but Anne is so saintly. Just reading this makes me think, hmm, maybe Andrew and Anne isn’t too close to be useable.

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  7. (had a login issue so if my comment appears twice… I apologize!)

    I’m Ann with no e, named by request of my maternal grandmother. My mom’s middle name is also Ann. No idea why that spelling was picked! I go exclusively by Annie, and I have for my whole life, so I don’t particularly love just Ann, because I’m not used to it… Though together with my middle name I think it is quite nice (Ann Kathryn). I’ve always wondered if I would find it less plain if it were spelled Anne, but I guess I’ll never know! My last name is monosyllabic as well so it’s possible I would still find it too short a combination if that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you shared your Ann experience! So funny your grandmother wanted the Ann spelling, if you ever find out why I’d love to know! Maybe she had a bad experience with Anne? I love your full name — I feel like Ann and Kathryn suit each other! I also loooooove the nickname Annie!!!! (Fun and funny fact: My grandmother and my great-grandmother were both Annie Oakley!)

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Just love Anne, as Grandmom presented her name…Grampa called her Annie…always loved it. The Irish form of Aine* (sounds like On-ya)…so beautiful…

    so lovely St. Anne is your blog’s patron saint!

    * can’t seem to type in the accent over the A_

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I already “voted” on Instagram for Anne. My younger sister is Anne and I helped name her when I was 10. We specifically preferred the “e” spelling. An interesting aside. My sister has experienced a bit of being called Annie, especially in high school. It wasn’t a nickname, there were some people who legitimately thought the “e” had a sound…

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  10. Oh, this is a toss-up for me! My mother’s middle name is Ann, my little sister’s first name is Anne, and my new niece has Ann as a middle name in honor of my mother. I always preferred Anne but Ann actually seems really sweet now that’s it’s on a new little one. 🙂

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  11. I prefer Anne; though I should disclose my bias, as I named my daughter Anne.

    Btw, She H-A-T-E-S when people call her “Annie.”

    Being a bit OCD, it drives me crazy to see something written as “St Ann” when it is clearly “St Anne” on the item… attention to detail already. lol

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I know this is an old post, but someone just posted it so I wanted to add my two cents. 😊 Between “Anne” and “Ann,” I definitely prefer Ann. It just seems like the more traditional way, and that’s my older sister’s middle name. But my preferred form of the name overall is “Anna,” and if we ever have another girl that will likely be her name!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was given the middle name Ann, after my mother whose middle name is also Ann. My Irish grandmother explained that is the English way, and since we aren’t French, well, we didn’t get an “e.” My mother and I both prefer Ann, especially since our surname is English as well.


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