Fragment of the New Universal Atlas by John Cary
, London, 1808. The city was situated on the borderline between the former Polish
(left) and Russian
(right) zones of influence, with the name being Russified to Kiev
Kiev is the traditional and most commonly used English name for the city. The Ukrainian government however uses Kyiv as the mandatory romanization where legislative and official acts are translated into English.
As a prominent city with a long history, its English name was subject to gradual evolution. The early English spelling was derived from Old East Slavic form Kyjevŭ (Cyrillic: Кꙑєвъ). The name is associated with that of Kyi (Кий), the legendary eponymous founder of the city.
Early English sources use various names, including Kiou, Kiow, Kiew, Kiovia. On one of the oldest English maps of the region, Russiae, Moscoviae et Tartariae published by Ortelius (London, 1570) the name of the city is spelled Kiou. On the 1650 map by Guillaume de Beauplan, the name of the city is Kiiow, and the region was named Kÿowia. In the book Travels, by Joseph Marshall (London, 1772), the city is referred to as Kiovia. The form Kiev is based on Russian orthography and pronunciation [ˈkʲijɪf], during a time when Kiev was in the Russian Empire (from 1708, being the seat of a governorate).
In English, Kiev was used in print as early as in 1804 in John Cary's "New map of Europe, from the latest authorities" in Cary's new universal atlas published in London. The English travelogue titled New Russia: Journey from Riga to the Crimea by way of Kiev, by Mary Holderness was published in 1823. By 1883, the Oxford English Dictionary included Kiev in a quotation.
Kyiv is the romanized version of the name of the city used in modern Ukrainian. Following independence in 1991, the Ukrainian government introduced the national rules for transliteration of geographic names from Ukrainian into English. According to these rules, the Ukrainian Київ is transliterated as Kyiv. This has established the use of the spelling Kyiv in all official documents issued by the governmental authorities since October 1995. The spelling is used by the United Nations, the European Union, all English-speaking foreign diplomatic missions, several international organizations, Encarta encyclopedia, and by some media in Ukraine. In October 2006, the United States Board on Geographic Names (or BGN) unanimously voted to change its standard transliteration to Kyiv, effective for the entire U.S. government, although Kiev remained the BGN conventional name for this city until June 2019. The alternative romanizations Kyyiv (BGN/PCGN transliteration) and Kyjiv (scholarly) are also in use in English-language atlases. Many major English-language news sources, including The New York Times continue to use Kiev, but others have adopted Kyiv in their style guides, including The Economist, The Guardian, the Associated Press news service, the Wall Street Journal, the Globe and Mail, the BBC, and the Washington Post.