habeas corpus A writ ordering a person in custody to be brought before a court. It places the burden of proof on those detaining the person to justify the detention.

When habeas corpus is used in a story, define it.

Hades But lowercase hell.

Hague, The In datelines:

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) —

In text: The Hague.

half It is not necessary to use the preposition of: half the time is correct, but half of the time is not wrong.

half- Follow Webster’s New World Dictionary. Hyphenate if not listed there.

Some frequently used words without a hyphen:

halfback halftone

halfhearted halftrack

Also: halftime, an exception to the dictionary in keeping with widespread practice in sports copy.

Some frequently used combinations that are two words without a hyphen:

half brother half size

half dollar half sole (n.)

half note half tide

Some frequently used combinations that include a hyphen:

half-baked half-life

half-blood half-moon

half-cocked half-sole (v.)

half-hour half-truth

half-mast, half-staff On ships and at naval stations ashore, flags are flown at half-mast.

Elsewhere ashore, flags are flown at half-staff.


Halley’s comet After Edmund Halley, an English astronomer who predicted the comet’s appearance once every 75 years, last seen in 1985-86.


halo, halos

handicapped See disabled, handicapped, impaired.



hands off, hands-off Hyphenate when used as a compound modifier: He kept his hands off the matter. He follows a hands-off policy.

hand to hand, hand-to-hand, hand to mouth, hand-to-mouth Hyphenate when used as compound modifiers: The cup was passed from hand to hand. They live a hand-to-mouth existence.

hang, hanged, hung One hangs a picture, a criminal or oneself.

For past tense or the passive, use hanged when referring to executions or suicides, hung for other actions.

hangar, hanger A hangar is a building.

A hanger is used for clothes.



Hanukkah The Jewish Festival of Lights, an eight-day commemoration of re-dedication of the Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.

Usually occurs in December but sometimes falls in late November.

harass, harassment

harebrained An offensive term; do not use.

harelip Avoid. Cleft lip is preferred.

Harper’s Magazine Not to be confused with Harper’s Bazaar.

Harris Poll Prepared by Louis Harris & Associates of New York.

Havana The city in Cuba stands alone in datelines.

Hawaii Do not abbreviate. Residents are Hawaiians, technically natives of Polynesian descent.

The state comprises 132 islands about 2,400 miles southwest of San Francisco. Collectively, they are the Hawaiian Islands.

The largest island in land area is Hawaii. Honolulu and Pearl Harbor are on Oahu, where more than 80 percent of the state’s residents live.

Honolulu stands alone in datelines. Use Hawaii after all other cities in datelines, specifying the island in the text, if needed.

See datelines and state names.

Hawaiian Airlines Headquarters is in Honolulu.

Hawaii Standard Time The time zone used in Hawaii. There is no daylight time in Hawaii.

H-bomb Use hydrogen bomb unless a direct quotation is involved.

he, him, his, thee, thou Personal pronouns referring to the deity are lower- case.

See deity.


head-on (adj., adv.)

headquarters May take a singular or a plural verb.

Do not use headquarter as a verb.

health care Two words.

hearing examiner See administrative law judge.



heavenly bodies Capitalize the proper names of planets, stars, constellations, etc.: Mars, Arcturus, the Big Dipper, Aries. See earth.

For comets, capitalize only the proper noun element of the name: Halley’s comet.

Lowercase sun and moon, but capitalize them if their Greek or Latin names are used: Helios, Luna.

Lowercase nouns and adjectives derived from the proper names of planets and other heavenly bodies: jovian, lunar, martian, solar, venusian.

hect- (before a vowel), hecto- (before a consonant) A prefix denoting 100 units of a measure. Move a decimal point two places to the right, adding zeros if necessary, to convert to the basic unit: 5.5 hectometers = 550 meters.

hectare A unit of surface measure in the metric system equal to 100 ares or 10,000 square meters.

A hectare is equal to 2.47 acres, 107,639.1 square feet or 11,959.9 square yards.

To convert to acres, multiply by 2.47 (5 hectares x 2.47 = 12.35 acres).

See are and metric system.

heights See dimensions.


hell But capitalize Hades.


hemisphere Capitalize Northern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere, etc.

Lowercase hemisphere in other uses: the Eastern and Western hemispheres, the hemisphere.



her Do not use this pronoun in reference to nations or ships, except in quoted matter.

Use it instead.

here The word is frequently redundant, particularly in the lead of a datelined story. Use only if there is some specific need to stress that the event being reported took place in the community.

If the location must be stressed in the body of the story, repeat the name of the datelined community, both for the reader’s convenience and to avoid problems if the story is topped with a different dateline.

Her Majesty Capitalize when it appears in quotations or is appropriate before a name as the long form of a formal title.

For other purposes, use the woman’s name or the queen.

See nobility.

heroin The narcotic, originally a trademark.

hertz This term, the same in singular or plural, has been adopted as the international unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second.

In contexts where it would not be understood by most readers, it should be followed by a parenthetical explanation: 15,400 hertz (cycles per second).

Do not abbreviate.




highway designations Use these forms, as appropriate in the context, for highways identified by number: U.S. Highway 1, U.S. Route 1, U.S. 1, state Route 34, Route 34, Interstate Highway 495, Interstate 495. On second reference only for Interstate: I-495.

When a letter is appended to a number, capitalize it but do not use a hyphen: Route 1A.

See addresses.

highway patrol Capitalize if used in the formal name of a police agency: the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Highway Patrol. Lowercase highway patrolman in all uses.

See state police.

hike People take hikes through the woods, but they increase prices.

Hindu, Hinduism The dominant religion of India. It has about 470 million followers making it the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. There are more than 300,000 followers in North America.

The basic teaching is that the soul never dies, but is reborn each time the body dies. The soul may be reborn in either human or animal form. The following rule is that of karma and states that no matter how small the action or thought of an individual it will affect how the soul will be reborn in the next generation. The cycle of death and rebirth continues until a soul reaches spiritual perfection. At that point the soul is united in total enlightenment and peace with the supreme being and the cycle is ended.

There are a number of gods and goddesses, all of whom are different focuses of the one supreme being. The primary gods are Brahma, Vishnu, called the preserver, and Siva, the destroyer. Vishnu has had important human incarnations as Krishna and Rama. The primary goddess is Devi, who is also known as Durga, Kali, Sarasvati, Lakshimi and other names. She represents in her forms either motherhood and good fortune or destruction. There are thousands of other deities and saints which also may receive prayers and offerings.

Hindus also believe that animals have souls and many are worshiped as gods. There are thousands of sects and organization runs from virtually none to very strict depending on the group. There is no formal clergy.

Hiroshima On Aug. 6, 1945, this Japanese city and military base were the targets of the first atomic bomb dropped as a weapon. The explosion had the force of 20,000 tons (20 kilotons) of TNT. It destroyed more than four square miles and killed or injured 160,000 people.

his, her Do not presume maleness in constructing a sentence, but use the pronoun his when an indefinite antecedent may be male or female: A reporter attempts to protect his sources. (Not his or her sources, but note the use of the word reporter rather than newsman.)

Frequently, however, the best choice is a slight revision of the sentence: Reporters attempt to protect their sources.

His Majesty Capitalize when it appears in quotations or is appropriate before a name as the long form of a formal title.

For other purposes, use the man’s name or king.

See nobility.

Hispaniola The island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

See Western Hemisphere.

historic, historical A historic event is an important occurrence, one that stands out in history.

Any occurrence in the past is a historical event.

historical periods and events Capitalize the names of widely recognized epochs in anthropology, archaeology, geology and history: the Bronze Age, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Pliocene Epoch.

Capitalize also widely recognized popular names for the periods and events: the Atomic Age, the Boston Tea Party, the Civil War, the Exodus (of the Israelites from Egypt), the Great Depression, Prohibition.

Lowercase century: the 18th century.

Capitalize only the proper nouns or adjectives in general descriptions of a period: ancient Greece, classical Rome, the Victorian era, the fall of Rome.

For additional guidance, see separate entries in this book for many epochs, events and historical periods. If this book has no entry, follow the capitalization in Webster’s New World Dictionary, using lowercase if the dictionary lists it as an acceptable form for the sense in which the word is used.

history Avoid the redundant past history.

hit and run (v.) hit-and-run (n. and adj.) The coach told him to hit and run. He scored on a hit-and-run. She was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

hitchhike, hitchhiker



Hodgkin’s disease After Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, the English physician who first described the disease of the lymph nodes.


hold up (v.) holdup (n. and adj.)

holidays and holy days Capitalize them: New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Groundhog Day, Easter, Hanukkah, etc.

The legal holidays in federal law are New Year’s, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. See individual entries for the official dates and when they are observed if they fall on a weekend.

The designation of a day as a federal legal holiday means that federal employees receive the day off or are paid overtime if they must work. Other requirements that may apply to holidays generally are left to the states. Many follow the federal lead in designating a holiday, but they are not required to do so.

Hollywood Stands alone in datelines when used instead of Los Angeles on stories about films and the film industry.

Holocaine A trademark for a type of local anesthetic.

Holy Communion See sacraments.

Holy Father The preferred form is to use the pope or the pontiff, or to give the individual’s name.

Use Holy Father in direct quotations or special contexts where a particular literary effect is desired.

holy orders See sacraments.

Holy See The headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City.

Holy Spirit Now preferred over Holy Ghost in most usage.

Holy Week The week before Easter.


home page (two words)

hometown See comma for guidelines on how to list a hometown after an individual’s name.

homicide, murder, manslaughter Homicide is a legal term for slaying or killing.

Murder is malicious, premeditated homicide. Some states arbitrarily define certain homicides as murder if the killing occurs in the course of armed robbery, rape, etc.

Manslaughter is homicide without malice or premeditation.

A person should not be described as a murderer until convicted of the charge.

Unless authorities say premeditation was obvious, do not say that a victim was murdered until someone has been convicted in court. Instead, say that a victim was killed or slain.

See execute and the assassin, killer, murderer entry.

Hong Kong Stands alone in datelines.

honky A term of abuse directed toward whites by blacks. Use it only in quoted matter.

See the nationalities and races entry.

Honolulu The city in Hawaii stands alone in datelines. It is on the island of Oahu.

See Hawaii.

honorary degrees All references to honorary degrees should specify that the degree was honorary.

Do not use Dr. before the name of an individual whose only doctorate is honorary.

honorary titles See nobility.

hoof-and-mouth disease Use foot-and-mouth disease.

hooky Not hookey.

hopefully It means in a hopeful manner. Do not use it to mean it is hoped, let us or we hope.

Right: It is hoped that we will complete our work in June.

Right: We hope that we will complete our work in June.

Wrong as a way to express the thought in the previous two sentences: Hopefully, we will complete our work in June.


horse races Capitalize their formal names: Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes, etc.

horses’ names Capitalize. See animals.

host Do not use it as a verb. (Exception to a usage recorded in Webster’s New World.)

hotel Capitalize as part of the proper name for a specific hotel: the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Lowercase when standing alone or used in an indefinite reference to one hotel in a chain: The city has a Sheraton hotel.

Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union The shortened forms Hotel and Restaurant Employees union and Bartenders union acceptable in all references.

Headquarters in Cincinnati.

hot line The circuit linking the United States and Russia.


household, housing unit In the sense used by the Census Bureau, a household is made up of all occupants of a housing unit. A household may contain more than one family or may be used by one person.

A housing unit, as defined by the bureau, is a group of rooms or single room occupied by people who do not live and eat with any other person in the structure. It must have either direct access from the outside or through a common hall, or have a kitchen or cooking equipment for the exclusive use of the occupants.

House of Commons, House of Lords The two houses of the British Parliament.

On second reference: Commons or the Commons, Lords or the Lords.

house of delegates See the next entry.

house of representatives Capitalize when referring to a specific governmental body: the U.S. House of Representatives, the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Capitalize shortened references that delete the words of Representatives: the U.S. House, the Massachusetts House.

Retain capitalization if U.S. or the name of a state is dropped but the reference is to a specific body.

BOSTON (AP) — The House has adjourned for the year.

Lowercase plural uses: the Massachusetts and Rhode Island houses.

Apply the same principle to similar legislative bodies such as the Virginia House of Delegates.

See the organizations and institutions entry for guidelines on how to handle the term when it is used by a nongovernmental body.

housing unit See the household, housing unit entry.

Houston The city in Texas stands alone in datelines.

Hovercraft A trademark for a vehicle that travels on a cushion of air.

howitzer See weapons.

human, human being Human is preferred, but either is acceptable.


hurricane Capitalize hurricane when it is part of the name that weather forecasters assign to a storm: Hurricane Hazel.

But use it and its — not she, her or hers — in pronoun references.

And do not use the presence of a woman’s name as an excuse to attribute sexist images of women’s behavior to a storm. Avoid, for example, such sentences as: The fickle Hazel teased the Louisiana coast.

See weather terms.

husband, widower Use husband, not widower, in referring to the spouse of a woman who dies.


Hyannis Port, Mass.

hydro- The rules in prefixes apply, but in general, no hyphen. Some examples:

hydroelectric hydrophobia

hyper- The rules in prefixes apply, but in general, no hyphen. Some examples:

hyperactive hypercritical

hyphen See entry in Punctuation chapter.