Car News:  Oversteer

Here's Why "Spider" and "Spyder" Are Spelled Differently

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 FIAT 124 Spider Classica
Used 2017 FIAT 124 Spider
$23,000
RELATED READING
See all FIAT 124 Spider articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2017

If you're interested in cars even in the slightest, you probably already know that the term "Spider" -- or "Spyder" -- is occasionally used to describe small convertibles, usually lightweight 2-seaters like the FIAT 124 Spider or Porsche Boxster Spyder.

You may also know the origin behind the term. If you don't, AutoWeek has an excellent summary here, but the basic thinking is that "spider" was a name initially given to small cars or carriages with a fabric roof that could be placed over the top in the event of a rainstorm -- and that the top, when installed, made these vehicles look like a "spider." According to AutoWeek, the term probably made the jump to sports cars as they were looking for older, cool-sounding named to bring back from previous eras -- not unlike what automakers do today.

But the thing I've always wondered is this: Why do some automakers spell it "Spyder," with a "y," while others spell it "Spider," with an "i"? It turns out that it's a little simpler than you might think.

Well, part of it is simple. One aspect of it is still unknown, namely: Why did automakers start spelling it with a "Y" in the first place? After all, the word is "spider," with an "i," so the "y" thing seems out of place. But regardless of their reasons, they did it, and now "Spyder" is the generally accepted way to spell it when you have a small convertible with a fabric top -- see, for instance, the Toyota MR2 Spyder, and the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, and the Audi R8 Spyder, and more.

Indeed, virtually everyone spells it this way, now, if they're releasing a "Spyder," with just one exception: the Italians.

It's true: The Italians are the only ones who spell it with an "I," and they do it virtually every time. The Ferrari 488 Spider, the FIAT 124 Spider, the Alfa Romeo Spider and on and on -- though there have been a few times (Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, Maserati Spyder) where they've compromised on this. But generally speaking, you have the Italians spelling it "Spider," and everyone else spelling it "Spyder."

The reason for this? There is no "y" in the Italian alphabet. So while the rest of us have all adopted this odd term -- "Spyder" -- the Italians are left out of the fun since their alphabet doesn't give them the letters for "Spyder." Instead, they stick with "Spider." And so if you're ever writing out a car name with "Spider" or "Spyder" in the title and you're not sure whether it's spelled with a "y" or an "i," you can generally rely on the rule that Italian cars are with an "i," and everyone else is with a "y." Unless it's the Lamborghini Huracan. But, folks, let's be honest: That's a German car anyway.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here's Why the Lamborghini Countach Is Worth $300,000
My Porsche 911 LS V8 Swap Is Finished: Here's How Much It All Cost
Remember When Mazda Released a Car With a Misspelled Name?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 FIAT 124 Spider Classica
Used 2017 FIAT 124 Spider
$23,000
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Here's Why "Spider" and "Spyder" Are Spelled Differently - Autotrader