'Santa Claus' or 'Santa Clause': Which is Correct?

By
Carly Forsaith,
updated on
February 17, 2023

Did you know that Santa's surname has been misspelled for years? So is it 'Santa Claus' or 'Santa Clause'? And why the confusion? That's what we'll find out today.

In short, the correct spelling is 'Santa Claus'. Read on to find out what 'Santa Clause' means and why everyone is so unsure of the correct spelling.

Is It 'Santa Claus' or 'Santa Clause'?

'Clause' is actually a noun that stands for a part of a legal document. You'll find clauses in contracts and constitutions, for example. Make sure you always read all the clauses in a written document before signing it to avoid legal trouble.

A clause is also a grammatical unit. There are noun clauses, adjective clauses, and many other types of clauses. They're sentence fragments that contain a subject and a verb but don't form a complete sentence.

'Claus' doesn't have any meaning other than being the famous Santa's surname.

That's right, 'Santa Claus' is the correct spelling.

So why the confusion?

Why do People Spell it wrong?

I'm willing to wager that the responsibility lies with the makers of the movie franchise 'Santa Clause.' Indeed, if you perform an online search for the words' Santa Clause,' you'll see that the first page alone shows only results for the movie—nothing about the man himself.

The movie portrays Scott, a regular man who is suddenly chosen to take on Santa's responsibilities one Christmas. By doing so, he enters into a contract that obliges him to fulfill his role as Santa's replacement that year. That contract is called 'The Santa Clause.'

While a clever play on words, this has led people to misspell Santa's name for decades. In fact, when people realized this, it generated a series of funny tweets. You can read some of those here.

Top tip! Some other common names for the legend include 'Father Christmas,' 'Kris Kringle,' 'Saint Nicholas,' and simply, 'Santa.'

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Santa Claus'

Now we've clarified the correct spelling and the reason for the confusion, would you like to know how to pronounce it? Let's find out.

'Santa' is pretty straightforward: it's pronounced how it's spelled. It rhymes with "Atlanta.'

[ san-tuh ]

As for the word 'Claus' (or 'Clause,' since they are both pronounced the same), it sounds like this:

[ klawz ]

If you'd like to know how the International Phonetics Alphabet spells it, it looks like this:

/ ˈsæn tə /
/ klɔz /

When to Use ‘Santa Claus’

Now let's take a look at some real-life examples of 'Santa Claus' used in a sentence.

Look what Santa Claus brought me for Christmas!

Santa Claus is coming to town.

I think Santa Claus would prefer to have cookies than carrots.

Concluding Thoughts

So there you have it; we've busted the myth around the spelling of 'Santa Claus.' Now you can show off to the world by always spelling it correctly.

To summarize:

  • 'Santa Claus' is the correct spelling of the word
  • 'Clause' is a noun that refers to parts of a legal document
  • 'Santa Clause' is the title of a movie and not the correct spelling for the man's surname.

If you found this article helpful and would like to read more articles busting myths around incorrect spellings, visit our blog.

Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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