renown: 2.4 million
reknown: 9 million
renoun: 406,000 (this spelling is my particular downfall)
renowned: 133 million (40 million of them in "world-renowned")
reknowned: 9 million (about 3.5 million of them in "world-reknowned")
renouned: 11 million (about 4.5 million of them in "world-renouned")
Probably lots of the "reknown" hits were in sources saying "this is a misspelling", but still the number is staggering. If the numbers for "renowned" weren't so decisive, lexicographers would have to start thinking about whether they should change the spelling of "renown" to "reknown".
What a quick Google search cannot reveal is how frequent another problem is: using "world-renown" as an adjective, as in "world-renown scientist", when it should be "world-renowned".
|Bob Hanna, world-renowned philosopher|
Clearly I haven't come up with a good mnemonic for this one, as it's still a stumbling block for me. Somehow, "celebrity philosopher" doesn't seem like an option. I remind myself there is no "k" (which seems to be the biggest problem) by remembering that the word in French is renommée, but that will only help you if you speak French. But I still want to spell it with a "u" rather than a "w". Thank goodness for dictionaries! Don't rely on your spellchecker, as, interestingly, the reproving red spellchecker squiggly did not show up in either my word-processing program or my email program for the misspelled words above.
I guess we can at least be thankful that we are not lumbered with the spelling proposed by16th century pedants who loved sticking extra silent letters into English words to reflect their Latin origins (God knows where they got the "p", though): "renoumpn"!