Iberia Air Lines of Spain An Iberia airliner is acceptable in any reference.

Headquarters is in Madrid.

IBM Acceptable as first reference for International Business Machines.

Headquarters is in Armonk, N.Y.

ICBM, ICBMs Acceptable on first reference for intercontinental ballistic missiles(s), but the term should be defined in the body of a story.

Avoid the redundant ICBM missiles.

ice age Lowercase, because it denotes not a single period but any of a series of cold periods marked by glaciation alternating with periods of relative warmth.

Capitalize the proper nouns in the names of individual ice ages, such as the Wisconsin ice age.

The most recent series of ice ages happened during the Pleistocene epoch, which began about 1.6 million years ago. During that time, glaciers sometimes covered much of North America and northwestern Europe.

The present epoch, the Holocene or Recent, began about 10,000 years ago, when the continental glaciers had retreated to Antarctica and Greenland.

Icelandair Headquarters is in Reykjavik, Iceland.

ice storm See weather terms.

Idaho Do not abbreviate. See state names.

illegal Use illegal only to mean a violation of the law. Be especially careful in labor-management disputes, where one side often calls an action by the other side illegal. Usually it is a charge that a contract or rule, not a law, has been violated.

Illinois Abbrev.: Ill. See state names.

illusion See the allusion, illusion entry.

imam Lowercase when describing the leader of a prayer in a Muslim mosque. Capitalize before a name when used as the formal title for a Muslim leader or ruler.

See religious titles.

immigrate See the emigrate, immigrate entry.

impassable, impassible, impassive Impassable means that passage is impossible: The bridge was impassable.

Impassible and impassive describe lack of sensitivity to pain or suffering. Webster’s New World notes, however, that impassible suggests an inability to be affected, while impassive implies only that no reaction was noticeable: She was impassive throughout the ordeal.

impeachment The constitutional process accusing an elected official of a crime in an attempt to remove the official from office. Do not use as a synonym for convicted or removed from office.

impel, impelled, impelling

imperial gallon The standard British gallon, equal to 277.42 cubic inches or about 1.2 U.S. gallons.

The metric equivalent is approximately 4.5 liters.

See liter.

imperial quart One-fourth of an imperial gallon.


imply, infer Writers or speakers imply in the words they use.

A listener or reader infers something from the words.

impostor Not imposter.

impromptu It means without preparation or advance thought.

in, into In indicates location: He was in the room.

Into indicates motion: She walked into the room.

"in" When employed to indicate that something is in vogue, use quotation marks only if followed by a noun: It was the "in" thing to do. Raccoon coats are in again.

in- No hyphen when it means not:

inaccurate insufferable

Often solid in other cases:

inbound infighting

indoor inpatient (n., adj.)


A few combinations take a hyphen, however:

in-depth in-house

in-group in-law

Follow Webster’s New World when in doubt.

-in Precede with a hyphen:

break-in walk-in

cave-in write-in

inasmuch as

Inauguration Day Capitalize only when referring to the total collection of events that include inauguration of a U.S. president; lowercase in other uses: Inauguration Day is Jan. 20. The inauguration day for the change has not been set.

Inc. See incorporated.

inch Equal to one-twelfth of a foot.

The metric equivalent is exactly 2.54 centimeters.

To convert to centimeters, multiply by 2.54 (6 inches x 2.54 equals 15.24 centimeters).

See centimeter; foot; and dimensions.

inches per second A rating used for the speed of tape recorders.

The abbreviation ips (no periods) is acceptable on first reference in specialized contexts such as a records column; otherwise do not use ips until second reference.

include Use include to introduce a series when the items that follow are only part of the total: The price includes breakfast. The zoo includes lions and tigers.

Use comprise when the full list on individual elements is given: The zoo comprises 100 types of animals, including lions and tigers.

See the compose, comprise, constitute entry.

incorporated Abbreviate and capitalize as Inc. when used as part of a corporate name. It usually is not needed, but when it is used, do not set off with commas: J.C. Penney Co. Inc. announced...

See company names.

incorporator Do not capitalize when used before a name.

See titles.

incredible, incredulous Incredible means unbelievable.

Incredulous means skeptical.

incur, incurred, incurring

Independence Day July Fourth or Fourth of July also are acceptable.

The federal legal holiday is observed on Friday if July 4 falls on a Saturday, on Monday if it falls on a Sunday.

index, indexes

Index of Leading Economic Indicators A composite of 12 economic measurements that was developed to help forecast likely shifts in the U.S. economy as a whole.

It is compiled by the Commerce Department.

Indiana Abbrev.: Ind. See state names.

Indianapolis The city in Indiana stands alone in datelines.

Indian Ocean See oceans.

Indians American Indian is the preferred term for those in the United States. Where possible, be precise and use the name of the tribe: He is a Navajo commissioner. Native American is acceptable in quotations and names of organizations.

In news stories about American Indians, such words as wampum, warpath, powwow, tepee, brave, squaw, etc., can be disparaging and offensive. Be careful and certain of their usage.

indict Use indict only in connection with the legal process of bringing charges against an individual or corporation.

To avoid any suggestion that someone is being judged before a trial, do not use phrases such as indicted for killing or indicted for bribery. Instead, use indicted on a charge of killing or indicted on a bribery charge.

For guidelines on related words, see the entries under accuse; allege; and arrest.

indiscreet, indiscrete Indiscreet means lacking prudence. Its noun form is indiscretion.

Indiscrete means not separated into distinct parts. Its noun form is indiscreteness.

indiscriminate, indiscriminately


indo- Usually hyphenated and capitalized:

Indo-Aryan Indo-Hittite

Indo-German Indo-Iranian

But: Indochina.

Indochina Formerly French Indochina, now divided into Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Indochinese peninsula Located here are the nations of Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Indonesia Use after the name of a community in datelines on stories from this nation.

Specify an individual island, if needed, in the text.

indoor (adj.) indoors (adv.) He plays indoor tennis. He went indoors.

infant Applicable to children through 12 months old.

infantile paralysis The preferred term is polio.

inflation A sustained increase in prices. The result is a decrease in the purchasing power of money.

There are two basic types of inflation:

Cost-push inflation occurs when rising costs are the chief reason for the increased prices.

Demand-pull inflation occurs when the amount of money available exceeds the amount of goods and services available for sale.

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

infrared infrastructure

initials Use periods and no space when an individual uses initials instead of a first name: H.L. Mencken.

This format has been adopted to assure that in typesetting the initials are set on the same line.

Do not give a name with a single initial (J. Jones) unless it is the individual’s preference or a first name cannot be learned.

See middle initials.

injuries They are suffered, not sustained or received.


Inner Light See Quakers.

innocent Use innocent, rather than not guilty, in describing a defendant’s plea or a jury’s verdict, to guard against the word not being dropped inadver-tently.




input Do not use as a verb in describing the introduction of data into a computer.

inquire, inquiry Not enquire, enquiry.

insignia Same form for singular and plural.

insofar as

in spite of Despite means the same thing and is shorter.

intelligence quotient IQ is acceptable in all references.

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

inter-American interstate


intercontinental ballistic missile See ICBM, ICBMs.

Internal Revenue Service IRS is acceptable on second reference.

Capitalize also Internal Revenue, but lowercase the revenue service.

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers The shortened form Machinists union is acceptable in all references.

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development World Bank is acceptable in all references.

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Use the full name on first reference to avoid confusion with the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

IBEW is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades of the United States and Canada The shortened form Painters union is acceptable in all references.

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America The shortened form Teamsters union is acceptable in all references.

Capitalize Teamsters and the Teamsters in references to the union or its members.

Lowercase teamster when no specific reference to the union is intended.

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Court of Justice The principal judicial organ of the United Nations, established at The Hague in 1945.

The court is not open to individuals. It has jurisdiction over all matters specifically provided for either in the U.N. charter or in treaties and conventions in force. It also has jurisdiction over cases referred to it by U.N. members and by non-members such as Switzerland that subscribe to the court statute.

The court serves as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice of the League of Nations, which also was known as the World Court.

On second reference use international court or world court in lowercase. Do not abbreviate.

International Criminal Police Organization Interpol is acceptable in all references.

Headquarters is in Paris.

international date line The imaginary line drawn north and south through the Pacific Ocean, largely along the 180th meridian.

By international agreement, when it is 12:01 a.m. Sunday just west of the line, it is 12:01 a.m. Saturday just east of it.

See time zones.

International Labor Organization ILO is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in Geneva.

International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union ILWU is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in San Francisco.

International Longshoremen’s Association ILA is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in New York.

International Monetary Fund IMF is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Telecommunications Satellite Organization Intelsat is acceptable on first reference, but the body of the story should identify it as the shortened form of the full name.

(The original name was International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium.)

Headquarters is in Washington.

International Telephone and Telegraph Corp. Note the and, not an ampersand. ITT is acceptable on second reference.

Headquarters is in New York.

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America This is the full, formal name for the union known more commonly as the United Auto Workers.

See the entry that begins United Automobile.

Internet A decentralized network of host computers that are linked by high-speed lines. In later references, the Net is acceptable.

Some commonly used Internet terms:

BBS Bulletin Board System.

Browser Software used to navigate the Internet.

HTML An acronym for hypertext markup language.

HTTP An acronym for hypertext transport protocol.

URL Universal Resource Locator, the computer address of a World Wide Web page.

Usenet A worldwide system of discussion areas called newsgroups.

Internet addresses should be self-contained paragraphs at the end of a story. Use basic news judgment in including an Internet address; do not include it merely because it is available.

Interpol Acceptable in all refer-ences for International Criminal Police Organization.

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

intramural intrastate


Iowa Do not abbreviate. See state names.

ips See inches per second.

IQ Acceptable in all references for intelligence quotient.

Iran The nation formerly called Persia. It is not an Arab country.

The people are Iranians, not Persians or Irani.

For the language, use Persian, the word widely accepted outside Iran. Inside Iran, the language is called Farsi.

Iraq The Arab nation coinciding roughly with ancient Mesopotamia.

Its people are Iraqis. The dialect of Arabic is Iraqi.

Ireland Acceptable in most references to the independent nation known formally as the Irish Republic.

Use Irish Republic when a distinction must be made between this nation and Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom.

Irish coffee Brewed coffee containing Irish whiskey, topped with cream or whipped cream.

Irish International Airlines The preferred name is Aer Lingus.

Headquarters is in Dublin, Ireland.

Irish Republican Army A group that fights to wrest Northern Ireland from British rule and unite it with the Irish Republic.

IRA is acceptable on second reference.

Iron Curtain

irregardless A double negative. Regardless is correct.

Islam Followers are called Mus-lims. Their holy book is the Koran, which according to Islamic belief was revealed by Allah (God) to the prophet Mohammed in the 7th century in Mecca and Medina. Their place of worship is a mosque. Their weekly holy day, equivalent of the Christian sabbath, is Friday.

It is the religion of about 850 million people in the world. Although Arabic is the language of the Koran and Muslim prayers, not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs. Most of the world’s Muslims live in a wide belt that stretches halfway around the world: across West Africa and North Africa, through the Arab countries of the Middle East and on to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Asian countries, parts of the former Soviet Union and western China, to Indonesia and the southern Philippines.

There are two major divisions in Islam:

Sunni The biggest single sect in Islam, comprising about 85 percent of all Muslims. Nations with Sunni majorities include Egypt, Saudi Arabia and most other Arab nations, as well as non-Arab Turkey and Afghanistan. Most Palestinian Muslims and most West African Muslims are Sunnis.

The Saudis sometimes are referred to as Wahhabi Muslims. This is a sub-group within the Sunni branch of Islam.

Shiite The second-largest sect, after the Sunni. Iran, home of militant Islamic fundamentalism, is the only nation with an overwhelming Shiite majority. Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain have large Shiite communities, in proportion to their overall populations.

(The schism between Sunni and Shiite stems from the very early days of Islam and arguments over Mohammed’s successors as caliph, the spiritual and temporal leader of Muslims. The Shiites wanted the caliphate to descend through Ali, Mohammed’s son-in-law. Ali eventually became the fourth caliph, but he was murdered; Ali’s son al-Hussein was massacred with his fighters at Karbala, in what is now Iraq. Shiites considered the later caliphs to be usurpers. The Sunnis no longer have a caliph.)

Titles for the clergy vary from sect to sect and from country to country, but these are the most common:

Grand Mufti — The highest authority in Koranic law and interpretation, a title used mostly by Sunnis.

Sheik — Used by most clergymen in the same manner that the Rev. is used as a Christian clerical title, especially common among Sunnis. (Not all sheiks are clergymen. Sheik can also be a secular title of respect or nobility)

Ayatollah — Used by Shiites, especially in Iran, to denote senior clergymen, such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Hojatoleslam — A rank below ayatollah.

Mullah — Lower level clergy.

Imam — Used by some sects as a title for the prayer leader at a mosque. Among the Shiites, it usually has a more exalted connotation.

The adjective is Islamic.

See Muslims and Nation of Islam.

island Capitalize island or islands as part of a proper name: Prince Edward Island, the Hawaiian Islands.

Lowercase island and islands when they stand alone or when the reference is to the islands in a given area: the Pacific islands.

Lowercase all island of constructions: the island of Nantucket.

U.S. DATELINES: For communities on islands within the boundaries of the United States, use the community name and the state name:


Honolulu stands alone, however.

DATELINES ABROAD: If an island has an identity of its own (Bermuda, Prince Edward Island, Puerto Rico, Sardinia, Taiwan, etc.) use the community name and the island name:

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) —

Havana, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore stand alone, however.

If the island is part of a chain, use the community name and the name of the chain:

MANILA, Philippines (AP) —

Identify the name of the island in the text if relevant: Manila is on the island of Luzon.

For additional guidelines, see datelines.

it Use this pronoun, rather than she, in references to nations and ships.

it’s, its It’s is a contraction for it is or it has: It’s up to you. It’s been a long time.

Its is the possessive form of the neuter pronoun: The company lost its assets.

IUD Acceptable on second reference for intrauterine device.

Ivy League Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.