BuzzFeed
Use your words

The BuzzFeed editorial style guide

Editorial style guides fascinate me, and the BuzzFeed style guide makes for an interesting browse. The word list in particular provides a brilliant snapshot of Internet popular culture as it stands in 2015.

Don’t hyphenate blow job, but do hyphenate butt-dial. Uppercase TARDIS but a subreddit is a lowercase place. T. rex, but T. Swift. Make sure to capitalise Apple Store (and most brands) but you can leave the exclamation mark off of Yahoo.

See also: The BuzzFeed Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide

I’ve copied the word list below as it stands today. It should be interesting to revisit in 5-10 years or more!

The BuzzFeed style guide word list

?! (never !?)
@replies, @mentions (on Twitter)
1D (as an abbreviation for One Direction)
24/7
3D
4chan (use a lowercase C, and avoid using it to start a sentence when possible)
4th of July
7-Eleven
A-list, B-list (etc., when referring to an “A-list celeb”)
ABCs
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi
AC (for air-conditioning)
administration (lowercase “a” in political terms, e.g., “It has been something the administration has avoided” or “the Obama administration”)
adviser
AF (for “as fuck”)
after-party
AIDS
Airbnb
airlift
airstrike
aka (UNLESS it starts a sentence, in which case AKA is acceptable — Aka just looks weird)
alcohol: Drink names are usually lowercase (exception: Bloody Mary)
Al Jazeera (not italicized)
al-Qaeda
all-nighter
a.m., p.m.
Amex (for American Express)
amendments: First Amendment, 19th Amendment (cap “A” when referencing specific amendments)
anti-vaxxer
apeshit
the Apple Store
Argentine (preferred to Argentinian as adjective meaning “of or relating to Argentina”)
A side (n.); A-side (adj.)
AstroTurf
autocorrect
autofill
Auto-Tune
awards season / awards show (preferable to “award”)
baby daddy, baby mama (two words)
backstory
bandana
bandmates
Bashar al-Assad
batshit
beatboxer, beatboxing
beatdown (n.)
best-seller, best-selling (New York Times best-seller list)
Beyoncé
BFF
bi-curious
binge-watch
bitchface
bitcoin (always lowercase)
BlackBerry, BlackBerrys
blonde (as adj. and n., all uses)
Bloody Mary, Bloody Marys
blow job
body slam (n.); body-slam (v.)
bougie (adj.), bougiest (from bourgeoisie)
bread crumbs (for the food); breadcrumbs (for the computer-y term)
Britpop
bro-down
bro-ing
brunette (as adj. and n., all uses)
B side (n.); B-side (adj.)
BTdubs
bull dyke (n.); bull-dyke (adj.) — avoid, unless used in a direct quote
butt-dial (all forms)
buzzer beater
BS, BS’d, BS’ing
bytes (measure digital storage capacity) — abbreviate kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes terabytes, etc. when used with a figure, with no space between the abbreviation and the figure (e.g., my iPhone is 64GB, a 128GB storage capacity)
Cabinet (cap when referring to the governmental advisers)
camel toe
Cap’n Crunch
catfight
catfished (as a verb, lowercase)
CBGB (not CBGB’s)
Cee Lo Green
celebricat (for a celebrity feline)
celebridog (for a celebrity canine)
cell phone (but smartphone)
chatroom (one word)
cheese: What’s capped and what’s not? Consult MW, but here’s a list of some commonly referenced cheeses: Brie, cheddar, Comté, Feta, Fontina, Gruyère, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano
checkbox
checkmark (one word in all forms)
Cherif Kouachi
child care (n.); child-care (adj.)
chocolaty (not “chocolatey”)
chokehold
circle jerk
cisgender
civil rights movement
class-action lawsuit
click-through
cliffhanger
co. (as in “and company”)
Coca-Cola
cockblock
come (v.); cum (n.) — (omg yes, this is really here)
coming-out (n., adj.), come out (v.)
commenter
company names: Refer to a company as “it,” not “they.” Exception: Band names usually take a plural construction (“The band is on tour”; but “Arcade Fire are playing tonight.”). Omit “Co.,” “Corp.,” “Inc.,” “Ltd.,” etc.
Con Edison; Con Ed is OK on second reference
congressional district (lowercase “c” and “d”)
copyedit (verb)
court cases: Italicize and use “v.” instead of “vs.” (Roe v. Wade)
Craigslist
cray-cray (as slang for “crazy”)
creepshot
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, use Fernández on subsequent references
crop top
CrossFit
crow’s-feet (n.)
crowdfund (all forms)
crowdsource (all forms)
crowdsurf
d-bag
Dark Web
day care (two words)
Day-Glo (trademark, used for fluorescent materials or colors); dayglow (airglow seen during the day)
deal breaker (two words)
decade-long
Deep South
Democratic Party (cap “P”)
die-hard (adj.), diehard (n.)
Disney Princess
diss (meaning to disrespect)
Division One, Two, etc. (for sports references)
DIY
DJ (n., v.); DJ’ed, DJ’ing
“don’t ask, don’t tell” (lowercase, in quotes, with a comma for the military policy; in subsequent references, no quotes or abbreviate as DADT)
dos and don’ts
douchebag
doughnut (but: Dunkin’ Donuts)
down-low
Down syndrome
downtime
doxx (not dox)
DREAMer (when referring to advocates of the DREAM Act)
drive-thru (as noun)
Dr.: Do not use the term “Dr.” to refer to nonmedical doctors who hold a doctorate
drum-and-bass
drunk-text (hyphenate as a compound verb)
duckface
dumpster
du-rag
Earth (capped only when referring explicitly to the planet; “The biggest on Earth” but “a down-to-earth guy”)
eBay
[ed.:] – for ed notes in running text, cap “Ed.:” if it starts a sentence or is its own sentence
Ecstasy (cap “E” for the drug)
editor-in-chief
Election Day (but lowercase “election night”)
Electoral College
e-book, e-commerce, e-cigarette
email
emoji, emojis (lowercase)
ever closer (no hyphen)
eyeing
eyeshadow
F-you (as a noun)
Facebook (always capped, in any form)
Facebook-stalk (verb)
facedown (adj.)
facepalm (one word, all forms)
face-to-face (adj., adv.)
FaceTime (the Apple app), but face time (n.) in all other uses
faceup (adj.), face up (v.)
fanbase
fan fiction, fanfic
fanboy/fangirl
farmers market
fauxhawk
fave, faved, faving (as in, “I faved his tweet”)
FBI
first lady / first family
first-timer
First World problem
fist-bump (v.); fist bump (n.)
flat iron (hair tool, n.); flat-iron (v.); Flatiron District
flatscreen (one word, both as n. and adj.)
foreign words and phrases: If you can find it in MW, no italics necessary; if you can’t, put in italics
Fox News (not FOX)
freshman 15
friend zone (n.); friend-zone (v.)
frontman / frontwoman
fundraiser, fundraising (contrary to AP and MW)
Froot Loops (not Fruit Loops)
froyo
fuckup (n.), fuck up (v.), fucked up (adj.)
Gchat
G.E.D.
Gehad el-Haddad
Generation X, Gen X’er
George R.R. Martin
Gholam Hossein Mohsen Ejeie
GIF/GIF’d (as verb), GIFs, GIFable (pronounced “gif” with a hard G, NOT like the peanut butter, Jif)
Girl Scout Cookie
girly (as a synonym for girlish); girlie (featuring scantily clad women)
glowstick
god: Cap only if explicitly referring to or alluding to a deity; lowercase otherwise, especially in common phrases (“Thank god she was OK,” “Oh god, he thought,” “And god knows we needed all the help we could get”)
god-awful
goddamn (per Webster’s), goddamnit, goddamned
gonna (not “gunna”)
good-bye
Google+ (preferred over Google Plus)
google (v.); Google (n.), google-able
goosebumps
Gov. (OK on first reference preceding governor’s name)
gravesite
gray (not grey)
grown-up (for all forms)
G-spot
guest star (n.), guest-star (v.)
gun control, gun rights (do not hyphenate, even if it’s modifying a noun — consider noun phrases)
hacktivist
haha (interjection); ha-ha (n.)
hair care (n.), hair-care (adj.)
hair dryer (but blow-dryer)
hair spray
hairstylist
half hour (not half-hour) (n.)
hand job
handover (noun)
Hanukkah
hardcore (all uses)
hardline (adj.)
hashtag
hate-watching
HBIC
HBO Go
head count
headscarf
headshot
health care (all forms)
heartrending, gut-wrenching, nerve-racking: Via MW, heartrending denotes sadness, gut-wrenching is meant to describe something that causes “great mental or emotional pain,” and nerve-racking describes something causing someone to feel nervous.
higher-up (n.)
hip-hop
hippie (as in Woodstock, peace and love, and all that)
hippy (as in big-hipped)
hitmaker
hi-top fade
HIV positive (no hyphen, unless it’s modifying a word: e.g., “Are you HIV positive?” vs. “The HIV-positive patients”)
hmmm
ho (plural: hos), for the derogatory term
homeowner, homeownership
homepage (also: homescreen, etc.)
homestretch
hoodie
hookup (n.), hook up (v.)
Hosni Mubarak
hotspot, Wi-Fi connection place; hot spot for other uses (i.e., “vacation hot spots”)
hoverboard
H.P. Lovecraft
H/T (for hat tips)
humankind (preferred over “mankind”)
humblebrag
Huthi rebels
iced coffee (not “ice coffee”)
ID (for identification)
Ikea (not IKEA)
IMDb
indie pop, indie rock (but hyphenate as modifiers)
Instagram, Instagramming (capped in all forms)
internet (lowercase i)
iPad Mini
Iraq War
IRL
ISIS (not ISIL) for militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
IT (OK on first reference for “information technology”)
It girl / It couple
Jay Z (no hyphen)
J.C. Penney
J.Crew
jeez (not “geez”)
jell (not “gel,” per AP when used as a verb)
Jell-O
J.J. Abrams
JK (just kidding)
J.K. Rowling
JLaw
J.Lo
JPG, JPEG
JPMorgan
judgy (not an actual word, but preferred to “judgey” in casual prose)
Juggalo / Juggalette
key chain (two words)
K-9
Kim Jong Un
Kim K (no period)
Kim Kardashian West (no hyphen)
Kimye
Kobe (as in Bryant — OK to reference by first name)
koozie (for beer/alcoholic drinks)
ladies’ night
LARPer, LARPing (for Live-Action Role-Playing)
LeBron (as in James — OK to reference by first name)
Lego
less vs. fewer: Use less when referring to mass nouns, distance, or money; use fewer when referring to things that are quantifiable (e.g., “There was a less of a risk with that option,” “There were fewer people at Jane’s party than at Julie’s.”).
life hack
likable
like:
• Use commas on either side for an interjection: “If you have, like, a really bad day…”
• No quotation marks when used as a self-referential pseudo-quote: “I was like, we could never do that. And then we did.”
• likes (as in, Facebook) — lowercase, not set in quotes
• As a suffix: see Combining Forms section below
L.A.
lil’ (for shorter form of “little”)
lip gloss / lip liner / lipstick
lip sync (n.); lip-synch (v.)
listicle: avoid, use “list” instead
listserv (no caps)
live stream (n.); live-stream (v.)
live-tweet
log in (v.); log-in (n.)
logline (brief summary of a TV program or film); log line (used on ships)
LOL-ing
longform
lower/upper Manhattan (lowercase L/U)
lunchbox
MAC (the cosmetics brand)
mac ‘n’ cheese
make do (not make due)
makeout (noun, the act of making out)
makeup (when referring to cosmetics)
mama
man-child
manila envelope
mansplain, mansplaining
mash-up
Mason jar
matzoh
M.D./M.D.s (plural)
mecca (lowercase)
megabank
men’s rights activists (no caps)
MIA
mic’ed (as the verb meaning to attach a microphone)
middle-aged (not -age)
Midtown Manhattan/Midtown (capped)
mile-high club
millennials (generally avoid using this term when possible; use “twentysomethings,” “twenty- and thirtysomethings,” or “young adults,” depending on what’s most appropriate/accurate)
mind-set
mixtape
mmm hmm
M.O.
Muammar al-Qaddafi
Mohamed Morsi
mohawk (lowercase as the hairstyle)
Molly (capitalized when referring to the drug)
more than vs. over: OK to use interchangeably, but typically, use “more” with quantities and “over” with spatial relationships. (e.g., “There were more than 20 people packed into the apartment,” “The plane flew over the Atlantic Ocean.”)
mother-effing
Muay Thai
Muggle (capped, as in a nonmagical person)
mugshot
mustache
‘n’ (when using in place of “and”)
nap time
NASCAR
Nasdaq
National Airport or Washington National Airport: preferred over Reagan National Airport
Native American (not American Indian)
Necco (not NECCO)
nerdom
never mind
News Feed (when referring to Facebook’s News Feed; “newsfeed,” one word, in other references)
news gathering
New Wave (for film genre); new wave (for music genre)
Ne-Yo
nip slip
nonprofit (as noun and adjective)
No. 1 but “number-one” when it appears in a quote
now: When referring to time, do not use a comma (“I used to be completely terrified of heights. Now I’m generally OK with heights”). When used colloquially, use a comma (“Now, I’d never say that all cats are awesome, but I’ve never met one who wasn’t”).
NSYNC
the n-word (style thusly); in lyrics, etc., write out as n***a
NYC
Obama administration
Obamacare
OB-GYN
O-face
“O Canada” (for both the national anthem and expressions)
offseason
OG (no periods)
“oh man”/ “oh my god” / “oh no” all OK without comma after “Oh”
OK (not okay or O.K.)
OkCupid
omega-3
omelet
on-again, off-again
on demand (lowercase, unless part of a service’s official title)
onesie
Oprah (OK to use just “Oprah” on first reference)
Other, Otherness: Capitalize to indicate use of the term as a category, especially when discussing race (e.g., in this post, “I think people make a clear distinction that [Lupita Nyong’o] is this exotic, fetishized Other — and therefore not ‘black’ like the rest of us.”).
PA (for personal amplifier)
page 1, page 2, etc. (for references to book pages)
page view
Paleo diet
peekaboo
pet sitter, pet-sit, pet-sitting
Peyton Manning
Ph.D. / Ph.D.s (plural)
phone calling (as a verb, no hyphen)
photobomb, videobomb
photo op
photo shoot
Photoshop (n., the program), photoshop (n., generically, an image that has been altered), photoshopped (adj.), photoshop (v.)
the Pill: capitalize when referring to birth control, but only when used as a noun and after “the” (e.g., “She was on the Pill to regulate her period.” / “There’s a new pill on the market with a lower dose of estrogen.”)
pinecone
pins, pinners (on Pinterest) are always lowercase
playoff
plus-size
PJs
Pokémon
Pop art movement
pop star, rock star
Pornhub
primetime (one word, all forms)
protester
pro tip (don’t hyphenate)
Prophet Muhammad
pseudo words: don’t hyphenate (e.g., “He rose from Obama stand-in to a pseudo strategist”)
Psy
publicly (not publically)
punch line (two words)
Q&A
Quidditch (capped, as in the game on broomsticks)
quote-unquote (in speech)
Qur’an
“the reason” or “the reason that” preferred to “the reason why” in running text
Reddit (cap in running text), redditor (lowercase, for someone who uses Reddit)
refriend / retweet / repin
Republican National Convention but “Republican convention” if not spelling out entire name
Republican Party (cap “P”)
ride-share/ride-sharing
rearview (adj.)
right-click (hyphenate as both n. and v.)
RIP (no points)
rock ‘n’ roll
rock-paper-scissors
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
rom-com
royal baby
the royal family (lowercase)
RT’d, RTs, RT (on Twitter)
Run-D.M.C.
Satan, satanic, satanism
SBD (silent but deadly)
sci-fi
screen saver (two words)
screencap
screengrab
screenshot (OK as noun and verb)
screenshort (a screenshot of text shared on social media)
seahorse
seatbelt
selfie (refers to a photo taken only by someone in said photo)
semi-automatic
service member
set list
al-Shabaab
Sharia (“Sharia” is defined as “Islamic law,” and therefore “Sharia law” is unnecessary/redundant when discussing the general framework of Islamic religious law; the term “Sharia law” should be used to refer to a code of government-implemented criminal and civil laws that are claimed to be derived from Islamic teachings or a provision of such a code.)
Shiite, Shiites (not Shia, for the branch of Islam, but Shia is acceptable in quotes)
ship names: capped and italicized (USS Awesome)
‘shippers (when referring to viewers who celebrate a fictional TV couple’s romantic arc)
shit list
shitfaced
shithole
shitload
shitshow
shitstorm
shit talk (n.), shit-talk (v.)
shit ton
shoegazer
ShondaLand
shoo-in
showrunner
shyest
sideboob
sidebutt
side-eye
sideview (adj.)
smartglasses
smartphone (but cell phone)
smartwatch
snowblowed (for past tense of snowblow)
S.O. (for significant other)
softcore
Solo cup
soulmate
soundcheck
soy milk
spandex
spell-check (n. and v.)
SpongeBob SquarePants
spray paint (n.), spray-paint (v.)
Sriracha
stand-up (comedy)
Stanky Legg (for dance move — two g’s! )
state representative (lowercase “s” and “r,” unless it precedes politician’s name)
startup
the States (when referring to the United States)
Statehouse (always capped)
stepgrandmother/stepgrandfather (close up all “step” relationships unless next word starts with vowel)
stock-in-trade
stop-and-frisk (hyphenate in all uses)
storyline
straight-up (hyphenate as an adjective before a noun, verb, etc.)
Steadicam
streetwear
struggle bus
student-athlete (also, student-performer, and the like)
subreddit
supercut
super PAC
supervillain
surfbort
Sweet 16
synthpop
tae kwon do
takeout (n.), take out (v.), takeaway (n.)
TARDIS
tase; tased; tasing (OK to use as a verb, contrary to AP)
tear gas (n.); teargas (v.)
TED Talk
teepee
teleprompter
the Gambia (not Gambia or The Gambia)
The One (as in destined romantic interest)
think piece
Third World: avoid; use “developing world/country” instead
tick-tock
till (as abbreviation for “until”)
Time (not TIME) magazine
time-lapse (adj.), time lapse (n.)
timeline (one word, all uses)
timeshare (one word, all forms)
tl;dr (all lowercase, unless it starts a sentence, in which case, TL;DR)
the Today show (not Today Show)
touchscreen
Toys ‘R’ Us
tracklist
tractor-trailer
trans/transgender (not transgendered)
trendspotting
tristate (one word, lowercase)
“try to” (not “try and,” as in, “I’m going to try to call her later.”)
T. rex
T. Swift
Twitter / tweeting / tweets
Twitterstorm
two-buck Chuck
type A, type B (as in personality)
U.N.
U.S., U.K. (but USA)
unfriend (not de-friend)
up front (adv.); up-front (adj.); upfronts (n., refers to the meeting held by television executives)
updog (“Nothing, what’s up with you?”)
upvote/downvote (n. and v.)
username
Viner (i.e., someone who uses Vine)
Vine-ing (post a Vine/use Vine is preferred; cap in all uses)
vinyasa yoga
Vitaminwater
V-Day is OK for Valentine’s Day, but use sparingly
V-neck
V-shaped
Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia (not French Vogue, Italian Vogue)
voicemail
voiceover
vs. (with a period, lowercase in list-y posts), versus (spelled out in news articles, longform stories); but v. for court cases
wack (n.), not cool, effed up; whack (n., v.), a hard or resounding blow, to hit with a hard or resounding blow; also gangster (as in Godfather) slang, “to kill”
Wall Street (spell out, rather than “Wall St.,” in running text, unless talking about a specific address)
Wal-Mart Stores (when referring to the corporation); but “I went to Walmart” (when referring to the retail store)
“war on terror” on first reference, no quotation marks on subsequent references (same applies to similar phrases, e.g., “war on drugs”)
Washington, D.C. / the D.C. area — but, in datelines, just “WASHINGTON”
watch list
web / website / webpage
web comic
Weird Al Yankovic
whistleblower (use instead of “leaker,” which tends to have a negative connotation)
Will.i.am
windbreaker
whoa
wide-awake (hyphenated)
WikiLeaks
wineglass
Wi-Fi
workflow
workwear
World Wide Web
writers room
www: Never use in a URL unless it you can’t access the site without it (or if the URL requires the odd www1. or www2.) — all very rare instances!
Xacto
YA (for young adult)
yaaass
Yahoo (no !)
yeah
young’un
YouTube, YouTuber
zeitgeist (lowercase, even though MW “often” caps)
zip code (not ZIP code)
Ziploc
z’s (aka sleep)
Standard

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