Each month, 1,500,000 people search the internet using the term “Machu Picchu.” Thanks to search engine auto-corrections, the hordes of people that misspell Machu Picchu still find what they’re looking for (unless they really mess it up).
Still, web search stats reveal a bleak situation — one that would horrify English professors, leave stuffy historians aghast and irk literary pedants across the globe.
How to Spell Machu Picchu
Using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, we can see monthly stats for various Machu Picchu spelling attempts (approximate 12-month average):
machu picchu: 1,500,000 (correct)
machu pichu: 1,220,000 (used in some old textbooks, so passable)
macchu piccu: 22,200
matchu pitchu: 18,100 (‘T’ fetish)
machu picu: 4,400Did you know - Lima gets VERY hot between January and May. Stay at Pool Paradise Lima to enjoy the sunshine!
mucho pecho: 4,400 (“much breast”? — well, this is the internet)
macho picho: 3,600 (in the Peruvian jungle, that would be a strange and vulgar thing to say)
manchu picchu: 2,900 (Fu Manchu is to blame for that one)
macho pecho: 1,600 (?)
mucho picchu: 720 (more than enough, it’s true)
monte picchu: 720 (sophisticated)
machuu pichuu: 590 (you have to shout that one from the top of Huayna Picchu)
macho pico: 590 (hmmm…)
mucho picho: 170 (also vulgar in the jungle)
mashu pishu: 110 (drunk web surfing)
machoo pichoo: 22 (that’s the noise the Hiram Bingham Train makes)
We Need a Machu Picchu Mnemonic
What we need is a Machu Picchu mnemonic. You know, something like:
- Eddy Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddy (order of guitar strings)
- Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move (“rhythm” spelling)
- Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune: planets in order from the Sun — the unfortunate Pluto excluded)
This is a call to all you wordsmiths out there (and backpackers trying to pass the time on Peruvian buses). Can you make a Machu Picchu mnemonic that will stand the test of time? It’s not easy, believe me — the two ‘U’s really complicate matters. Here’s my attempt (this took about three days to achieve, seriously):
- My Aunt Clara Hates Ungulates — Pigs, Impala, Camels, Cattle — Hideous Ungulata
This is a contest of sorts. You can win the respect of your peers (possibly), cheers from the literary crowd (unlikely) and the incredible Machu Picchu Mnemonic Master badge (available in different sizes and colors to suit your website or blog). What could be better?
Write your mnemonic in the comments box below. Winners will be announced at an unspecified date in the near (perhaps distant) future — if anyone actually enters…