A taste of fame, “renown”

In a recent client edit I stumbled over the word “reknown” and realized that I needed to look up the correct spelling. I was sympathetic with the author’s mishap, as I have made the same mistake myself; the lure of adding “re” to “known,” a word the silence of whose “k” we have had drilled into us since first grade, is very strong. However, the correct spelling is “renown,” most often seen in such a sentence as “Stephen Hawking is a scientist and author of great renown.” The word carries a connotation of honor along with notoriety, fame with class. While looking for the word in the Webster’s New World Dictionary, I discovered the basis for a helpful way to remember the correct spelling of “renown”: There is no word in the English language (at least not in this particular dictionary) which begins with “rek – .” The words beginning with “re” go straight from “rej – ” to “rel – .” Onward on our own path to renown! … or not.