Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Web site, web site, website

Just how are you supposed to spell website these days? Darrin and I pondered this very question the other day, and here’s the answer:

Depends who you ask.

Merriam-Webster and the Associated Press will tell you it should be Web site. Afterall, "Web" refers to the World Wide Web, which as a proper noun always gets capitals.

American Heritage goes both ways, but offers this usage note:
“The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website seems to have progressed as rapidly as the technology itself. The development of website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to evolve into unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email has recently been gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there has been an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.”

I like Oxford’s answer best:

“It always takes a little time for new words to settle to a standardized form. Our most recent dictionary, the revised 11th edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, published in July 2004, shows website as the standard form, and future dictionaries will reflect this.
We recommend capital initials for Internet, World Wide Web, the Web, but not for individual sites.”

There. That settles it. Sort of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice commentary on the correct way to spell Web site (my preferred usage). I guess it is up to the individual or organization to select a preferred form and then be consistent in the use of that form.