Baby BellsA collective description of the regional telephone companies formed out of the breakup of the Bell System of AT&T. Avoid except in quotes.
baby boomerLowercase, no hyphen.
baby-sit, baby-sitting, baby-sat, baby sitter
bachelor of arts, bachelor of scienceA bachelor’s degree or bachelor’s is acceptable in any reference.
Seeacademic degrees for guidelines on when the abbreviations B.A. or B.S. are acceptable.
back up(v.) backup (n. and adj.)
back yard(n.) backyard (adj.)
bad, badlyBad should not be used as an adverb. It does not lose its status as an adjective, however, in a sentence such as I feel bad. Such a statement is the idiomatic equivalent of I am in bad health. An alternative, I feel badly, could be interpreted as meaning that your sense of touch was bad.
See thegood, well entry.
BahamasIn datelines, give the name of the city or town followed by Bahamas:
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) —
In stories, use Bahamas, the Bahamas or the Bahama Islands as the construction of a sentence dictates.
Identify a specific island in the text if relevant.
bailBail is money or property that will be forfeited to the court if an accused individual fails to appear for trial. It may be posted as follows:
—The accused may deposit with the court the full amount or its equivalent in collateral such as a deed to property.
—A friend or relative may make such a deposit with the court.
—The accused may pay a professional bail bondsman a percentage of the total figure. The bondsman, in turn, guarantees the court that it will receive from him the full amount in the event the individual fails to appear for trial.
It is correct in all cases to say that an accused posted bail or posted a bail bond (the money held by the court is a form of bond). When a distinction is desired, say that the individual posted his own bail, that bail was posted by a friend or relative, or that bail was obtained through a bondsman.
BakeliteA trademark for a type of plastic resin.
baker’s dozenIt means 13.
Bakery and Confectionery Workers’ International Union of AmericaThe shortened form Bakery Workers union is acceptable in all references.
Headquarters is in Washington.
balance of payments, balance of tradeThe balance of payments is the difference between the amount of money that leaves a nation and the amount that enters it during a period of time.
The balance of payments is determined by computing the amount of money a nation and its citizens send abroad for all purposes — including goods and services purchased, travel, loans, foreign aid, etc. — and subtracting from it the amount that foreign nations send into the nation for similar purposes.
The balance of trade is the difference between the monetary value of the goods a nation imports and the goods it exports.
An example illustrating the difference between the two:
The United States and its citizens might send $10 billion abroad — $5 billion for goods, $3 billion for loans and foreign aid, $1 billion for services and $1 billion for tourism and other purposes.
Other nations might send $9 billion into the United States — $6 billion for U.S. goods, $2 billion for services and $1 billion for tourism and other purposes.
The United States would have a balance-of-payments deficit of $1 billion but a balance-of-trade surplus of $1 billion.
ballclub, ballpark, ballplayer, ballroom
ball point pen
baloneyFoolish or exaggerated talk.
The sausage or luncheon meat is bologna.
BaltimoreThe city in Maryland stands alone in datelines.
Band-AidA trademark for a type of adhesive bandage.
Bank of AmericaAcceptable in all references for Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association.
BankAmerica Corp. of San Francisco is the parent company.
baptist, BaptistA person who baptizes is a baptist (lowercase).
A Baptist (uppercase) is a person who is a member of the Protestant denomination described in the next entry.
Baptist churchesIt is incorrect to apply the term church to any Baptist unit except the local church.
The largest of the more than 20 Baptist bodies in the United States is the Southern Baptist Convention. It has more than 12 million members, most of them in the South, although it has churches in 50 states.
The largest Northern body is American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., with about 1.5 million members.
Blacks predominate in three other large Baptist bodies, the National Baptist Convention of America, the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc., and the Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.
The roster of Baptist bodies in the United States also includes the Baptist General Conference, the Conservative Baptist Association of America, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, the General Association of General Baptists, and the North American Baptist General Conference.
The Baptist World Alliance, a voluntary association of Baptist bodies throughout the world, organizes the Baptist World Congress meetings generally held every five years. Headquarters is in Washington.
CLERGY: All members of the Baptist clergy may be referred to as ministers. Pastor applies if a minister leads a congregation.
On first reference, use the Rev. before the name of a man or woman. On second reference, use only the last name of a man; use Miss, Mrs., Ms., or no title before the last name of a woman depending on her preference.
Seereligious movements for definitions of some descriptive terms that often apply to Baptists but are not limited to them.
barbecueNot barbeque or Bar-B-Q.
bar mitzvahThe Jewish religious ritual and family celebration that marks a boy’s 13th birthday. Judaism regards the age of 13 as the benchmark of religious maturity. Bar mitzvah translates as "one who is responsible for the Commandments."
Conservative congregations have instituted the bas mitzvah or bat mitzvah, a similar ceremony for girls.
baron, baronessSee nobility.
barrelA standard barrel in U.S. measure contains 31.5 gallons.
A standard barrel in British and Canadian measure contains 36 imperial gallons.
In international dealings with crude oil, a standard barrel contains 42 U.S. gallons or 35 imperial gallons.
See theoil entry for guidelines on computing the volume and weight of petroleum products.
barrel, barreled, barreling
barrel-chested, barrelhouseAlso: double-barreled shotgun.
BASICA computer programming language. Acronym for Beginners’ All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. Use of acronym on first reference is acceptable if it is identified as a programming language. For example: That model of a personal computer uses the programming language, BASIC.
battalionCapitalize when used with a figure to form a name: the 3rd Battalion, the 10th Battalion.
battlefieldAlso: battlefront, battleground, battleship. But battle station.
baudA unit for measuring the speed of data transmission by com-puter.
bayCapitalize as an integral part of a proper name: Hudson Bay, San Francisco Bay.
Capitalize also San Francisco Bay area or the Bay area as the popular name for the nine-county region that has San Francisco as its focal point.
bazaarA fair. Bizarre means unusual.
B.C.Acceptable in all references to a calendar year in the period before Christ.
Because the full phrase would be in the year 43 before Christ, the abbreviation B.C. is placed after the figure for the year: 43 B.C.
because, sinceUse because to denote a specific cause-effect relationship: He went because he was told.
Since is acceptable in a causal sense when the first event in a sequence led logically to the second but was not its direct cause: They went to the game, since they had been given the tickets.
before ChristSee B.C.
BeijingThe city in China (formerly Peking) stands alone in datelines.
BelizeThe former British Honduras.
benefit, benefited, benefiting
Benelux Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
If Benelux is used, explain that it is an inclusive word for these three nations.
Ben-Gurion International AirportLocated at Lod, Israel, about 10 miles south of Tel Aviv.
BenzedrineA trademark for a type of pep pill or stimulant.
BerlinStands alone in datelines.
Berlin WallOn second reference, the wall.
Bermuda collar, Bermuda grass, Bermuda shorts
beside, besidesBeside means at the side of.
Besides means in addition to.
betting oddsUse figures and a hyphen: The odds were 5-4, he won despite 3-2 odds against him.
The word to seldom is necessary, but when it appears it should be hyphenated in all constructions: 3-to-2 odds, odds of 3-to-2, the odds were 3-to-2.
bettorA person who bets.
betweenSee the among, between entry.
bi-The rules in prefixes apply, but in general, no hyphen. Some examples:
biannual, biennialBiannual means twice a year and is a synonym for the word semiannual.
Biennial means every two years.
BibleCapitalize, without quotation marks, when referring to the Scriptures in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Capitalize also related terms such as the Gospels, Gospel of St. Mark, the Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures.
Lowercase biblical in all uses.
Lowercase bible as a non-religious term: My dictionary is my bible.
Do not abbreviate individual books of the Bible.
The books of the Old Testament, in order, are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chron- icles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
The books of the New Testament, in order: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Cor-inthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, Epistles of James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
Citation listing the number of chapter and verse(s) use this form: Matthew 3:16, Luke 21:1-13, 1 Peter 2:1.
Bible BeltThose sections of the United States, especially in the South and Middle West, where fundamentalist religious beliefs prevail. Use with care, because in certain contexts it can give offense.
big-bang theoryThe theory that the universe began with the explosion of a superdense primeval atom and has been expanding ever since.
Theoscillating theory, another hypothesis, maintains that expansion eventually will stop, followed by contraction to a superdense atom, followed by another big bang.
Thesteady-state theory, an alternative hypothesis, maintains that the universe always has existed and that matter constantly is being created to replace matter that is constantly being destroyed.
Big BoardAcceptable on second reference for the New York Stock Exchange.
big brotherOne’s older brother is a big brother. Big Brother (capitalized) means under the watchful eye of big government, from George Orwell’s "1984."
Capitalize also in reference to members of Big Brothers-Big Sisters of America Inc. The organization has headquarters in Philadelphia.
Big Three automakersGeneral Motors, Ford, Chrysler.
billionA thousand million.
For forms, see themillions, billions entry.
Bill of RightsThe first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
bimonthlyMeans every other month. Semimonthly means twice a month.
birthdayCapitalize as part of the name for a holiday: Washington’s Birthday. Lowercase in other uses.
bishopSee religious titles and the entry for the denomination in question.
bitAcceptable in all references as an acronym for binary digit. Actual data transmitted take the form of electrical impulses. These can be thought of as either on or off or 1 and 0. The pulses are bits.
biweeklyMeans every other week. Semiweekly means twice a week.
bizarreUnusual. A fair is a bazaar.
blackPreferred usage for those of the Negro race. (Use Negro only in names of organizations or in quotations.) Do not use colored as a synonym. See the colored entry.
Black MuslimsSee Muslim(s).
blackout, brownoutA blackout is a total power failure over a large area or the concealing of lights that might be visible to enemy raiders.
The term rotating blackout is used by electric companies to describe a situation in which electric power to some sections temporarily is cut off on a rotating basis to assure that voltage will meet minimum standards in other sections.
A brownout is a small, temporary voltage reduction, usually from 2 percent to 8 percent, implemented to conserve electric power.
blast off(v.) blastoff (n. and adj.)
Blessed Sacrament, Blessed Virgin
blindSee disabled, handicapped, impaired.
blizzardSee weather terms.
bloc, blockA bloc is a coalition of people, groups or nations with the same purpose or goal.
Block has more than a dozen definitions, but a political alliance is not one of them.
blond, blondeUse blond as a noun for males and as an adjective for all applications: She has blond hair.
Use blonde as a noun for females.
Bloody MaryA drink made of vodka and tomato juice. The name is derived from the nickname for Mary I of England.
blue blood(n.) blue-blooded (adj.)
blue chip stockStock in a company known for its long-established record of making money and paying dividends.
B’nai B’rithSee the fraternal organizations and service clubs entry.
boardCapitalize only when an integral part of a proper name. See capitalization.
board of aldermenSee city council.
board of directors, board of trusteesAlways lowercase. See the organizations and institutions entry.
board of supervisorsSee city council.
boats, shipsA boat is a watercraft of any size but generally is used to indicate a small craft. A ship is a large, seagoing vessel.
The word boat is used, however, in some words that apply to large craft: ferryboat, PT boat, gunboat.
Use Arabic or Roman numerals in the names of boats and ships: the Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2; Titan I, Titan II.
The reference for military ships is Jane’s Fighting Ships; for non-military ships, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.
Boeing Co.Formerly Boeing Aircraft Co.
Headquarters is in Seattle.
boldfaceUse boldface type for the slug lines, bylines and underlines for bylines atop a story, and for separate subhead lines if needed within a story.
Do not use boldface for individual words within a paragraph.
bolognaThe sausage. Baloney is foolish or exaggerated talk.
bondsSee loan terminology in Business guidelines and style section.
book titlesSee composition titles.
Books on TapeA trademark for a brand of audiotapes. Use a generic term such as audiotape or audiocassette.
borschtException to Webster’s New World.
Bosporus, theNot the Bosporus Strait.
BostonThe city in Massachusetts stands alone in datelines.
Boston brown bread, Boston cream pie, Boston terrier
boulevardAbbreviated only with a numbered address. See addresses.
box office(n.) box-office (adj.)
boyApplicable until 18th birthday is reached. Use man or young man afterward.
boycott, embargoA boycott is an organized refusal to buy a particular product or service, or to deal with a particular merchant or group of merchants.
An embargo is a legal restriction against trade. It usually prohibits goods from entering or leaving a country.
Boy ScoutsThe full name of the national organization is Boy Scouts of America. Headquarters is in Irving, Texas.
Cub Scouting is for boys 8 through 10. Members are Cub Scouts or Cubs.
Boy Scouting is for boys 11 through 17. Members are Boy Scouts or Scouts.
Exploring is a separate program open to boys and girls from high school age through 20. Members are Explorers, not Explorer Scouts. Members of units that stress nautical programs are Sea Explorers.
braAcceptable in all references for brassiere.
Brahman, BrahminBrahman applies to the priestly Hindu caste and a breed of cattle.
Brahmin applies to aristocracy in general: Boston Brahmin.
brand namesWhen they are used, capitalize them.
Brand names normally should be used only if they are essential to a story.
Sometimes, however, the use of a brand name may not be essential but is acceptable because it lends an air of reality to a story: He fished a Camel from his shirt pocket may be preferable to the less specific cigarette.
When a company sponsors an event such as a tennis tournament, use the company’s name for the event in first reference and the generic term in subsequent references: The Buick Women’s Open; the $200,000 women’s tennis tournament, the tournament.
Also use a separate paragraph to provide the name of a sponsor when the brand name is not part of the formal title.
Brand name is a non-legal term for service mark or trademark. See entries under those words.
break in(v.) break-in (n. and adj.)
break up(v.) breakup (n. and adj.)
Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers’ International Union of AmericaThe shortened form Bricklayers union is acceptable in all references.
Headquarters is in Washington.
bride, bridegroom, bridesmaidBride is appropriate in wedding stories, but use wife or spouse in other circumstances.
brigadierSee military titles.
Bright’s diseaseAfter Dr. Richard Bright, the London physician who first diagnosed this form of kidney disease.
Brill’s diseaseAfter Nathan E. Brill, a U.S. physician. A form of epidemic typhus fever in which the disease recurs years after the original infection.
BritainAcceptable in all references for Great Britain, which consists of England, Scotland and Wales.
British, Briton(s)The people of Great Britain: the English, the Scottish, the Welsh.
British AirwaysThe successor to British European Airways and British Overseas Airways Corp.
Headquarters is in Hounslow, England.
British Broadcasting Corp.BBC is acceptable in all references within contexts such as a television column. Otherwise, do not use BBC until second reference.
British ColumbiaThe Canadian province bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Do not abbreviate.
British CommonwealthSee Commonwealth, the.
British Petroleum Co. Ltd.BP is acceptable on second reference.
Headquarters is in London.
British thermal unitThe amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. Btu (the same for singular and plural) is acceptable on second reference.
British tonSee ton.
British Virgin IslandsUse with a community name in datelines on stories from these islands. Do not abbreviate.
Specify an individual island in the text if relevant.
broadcastThe past tense also is broadcast, not broadcasted.
Broadway, off-Broadway, off-off-BroadwayWhen applied to stage productions, these terms refer to distinctions made by union contracts, not to location of a theater.
Actors’ Equity Association and unions representing craft workers have one set of pay scales for Broadway productions (generally those in New York City theaters of 300 or more seats) and a lower scale for smaller theaters, classified as off-Broadway houses.
The term off-off-Broadway refers to workshop productions that may use Equity members for a limited time at substandard pay. Other unions maintain a hands-off policy, agreeing with the Equity attitude that actors should have an opportunity to whet their talents in offbeat roles without losing their Equity memberships.
Bromo SeltzerA trademark for a brand of bicarbonate of soda.
Bronze AgeThe age characterized by the development of bronze tools and weapons, from 3500 to 1000 B.C. Regarded as coming between the Stone Age and the Iron Age.
brotherSee Roman Catholic Church.
Brotherhood of Locomotive EngineersBLE is acceptable on second reference.
Headquarters is in Cleveland.
brothersAbbreviate as Bros. in formal company names: Warner Bros.
For possessives: Warner Bros.’ profits.
brownoutSee the blackout, brownout entry.
brunet, brunetteUse brunet as a noun for males, and as the adjective for both sexes.
Use brunette as a noun for females.
BtuThe same in singular and plural. See British thermal unit.
BudapestThe capital of Hungary. In datelines, follow it with Hungary.
Buddha, BuddhismA major religion founded in India about 500 B.C. by Buddha. Buddha, which means enlightened one, was the name given to Gautama Siddhartha by his followers.
Buddhism has about 250 million followers mostly in India, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. About 250,000 practice Buddhism in North America.
Buddhists believe that correct thinking and self-denial will enable the soul to reach nirvana, a state of release into ultimate enlightenment and peace. Until nirvana is reached, believers cannot be freed from the cycle of death and rebirth.
There are four major groups within Buddhism.
—Hinayana or Theravada: Followers stress monastic discipline and attainment of nirvana by the individual through meditation. It is dominant among Buddhists in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
—Mahayana: Followers lay stress on idealism. The ideal life is that of virtue and wisdom. The sect is found mostly in Japan, Korea and eastern China.
—Mantrayana: Major centers for this group are in the Himalayas, Mongolia and Japan. It is similar to Maha-yana but also has a structure of spiritual leaders and disciples, believes in various evil spirits and deities, uses magic, and has secret rituals.
—Zen: Followers seek enlightenment through introspection and intuition. The doctrines are again similar to Mahayana and like Mantrayana there is a loose structure of leaders and disciples. This group is found mostly in Japan.
BufferinA trademark for buffered aspirin.
bug, tapA concealed listening device designed to pick up sounds in a room, an automobile, etc. is a bug.
A tap is a device attached to a telephone circuit to pick up conversations on the line.
buildingNever abbreviate. Capitalize the proper names of buildings, including the word building if it is an integral part of the proper name: the Empire State Building.
build up(v.) buildup (n. and adj.)
bullfight, bullfighter, bullfighting
bullpenOne word, for the place where baseball pitchers warm up, and for a pen that holds cattle.
bureauCapitalize when part of the formal name for an organization or agency: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Newspaper Advertising Bureau.
Lowercase when used alone or to designate a corporate subdivision: the Washington bureau of The Associated Press.
burglary, larceny, robbery, theftLegal definitions of burglary vary, but in general a burglary involves entering a building (not necessarily by breaking in) and remaining unlawfully with the intention of committing a crime.
Larceny is the legal term for the wrongful taking of property. Its non-legal equivalents are stealing or theft.
Robbery in the legal sense involves the use of violence or threat in committing larceny. In a wider sense it means to plunder or rifle, and may thus be used even if a person was not present: His house was robbed while he was away.
Theft describes a larceny that did not involve threat, violence or plundering.
USAGE NOTE: You rob a person, bank, house, etc., but you steal the money or the jewels.
bus, busesTransportation vehicles. The verb forms: bus, bused, busing.
bushelA unit of dry measure equal to 4 pecks or 32 dry quarts. The metric equivalent is approximately 35.2 liters.
To convert to liters, multiply by 35.2 (5 bushels x 35.2 equals 176 liters).
business editorCapitalize when used as a formal title before a name. See titles.
business namesSee company names.
buss, bussesKisses. The verb forms: buss, bussed, bussing.
by-The rules in prefixes apply, but in general, no hyphen. Some examples:
By-electionis an exception. See the next entry.
by-electionA special election held between regularly scheduled elections. The term most often is associated with special elections to the British House of Commons.
bylinesUse only if the reporter was in the datelined community to gather the information reported.
Nicknames should not be used unless they specifically are requested by the writer.
byteA computer "word," made up of bits. The most common size byte contains eight bits, or binary digits.