K (or k) Abbreviation for kilobyte. It means 1,024 bytes. Similarly, 64k means 64 times 1,024 bytes, or 65,536 bytes (not 64,000). Leave no space between K and the preceding number, as in 128K of storage. The abbreviation K should not be used to mean 1,000.

Kansas Abbrev.: Kan. See state names.

Kansas City Use KANSAS CITY, Kan., or KANSAS CITY, Mo., in datelines to avoid confusion between the two.

karat See the carat, caret, karat entry.

Kelvin scale A scale of temperature based on, but different from, the Celsius scale. It is used primarily in science to record very high and very low temperatures. The Kelvin scale starts at zero and indicates the total absence of heat (absolute zero).

Zero on the Kelvin scale is equal to minus 273.15 degrees Celsius and minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit.

The freezing point of water is 273.16 degrees Kelvin. The boiling point of water is 373.16 degrees Kelvin.

To convert from Celsius to Kelvin, add 273.15 to the Celsius temperature.

See Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Kennedy Space Center See John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Kentucky Abbrev.: Ky. Legally a commonwealth, not a state.

See state and state names.

kerosene Formerly a trademark, now a generic term.

ketchup Not catchup or catsup.

keynote address Also: keynote speech.

Keystone Kops

KGB Acceptable on first reference, but the story should contain a phrase identifying it as the former Russian secret police and intelligence agency.

The initials stand for the Russian words meaning Committee for State Security.

kibbutz An Israeli collective settlement.

The plural is kibbutzim.

kidnap, kidnapped, kidnapping, kidnapper

kids Use children unless you are talking about goats, or the use of kids as an informal synonym for children is appropriate in the context.

killer See the assassin, killer, murderer entry.

kilo- A prefix denoting 1,000 units of a measure. Move a decimal point three places to the right, adding zeros if necessary, to convert to the basic unit: 10.5 kilograms equals 10,500 grams.

kilocycles The new term is kilohertz.

kilogram The metric term for 1,000 grams.

A kilogram is equal to approximately 2.2 pounds or 35 ounces.

To convert to pounds, multiply by 2.2 (9 kilograms x 2.2 equals 19.8 pounds).

See gram; metric system; and pound.

kilohertz Equals 1,000 hertz (1,000 cycles per second), replacing kilocycles as the correct term in applications such as broadcast frequencies.

The official abbreviation kHz is acceptable on second reference if clear in the context.

kilometer The metric term for 1,000 meters.

A kilometer is equal to approximately 3,281 feet, or five-eighths (0.62) of a mile.

To convert to miles, multiply by 0.62 (5 kilometers x 0.62 equals 3.1 miles).

See meter; metric system; and miles.

kiloton, kilotonnage A unit used to measure the power of nuclear explosions. One kiloton has the explosive force of 1,000 tons of TNT.

The atomic bomb dropped Aug. 6, 1945, on Hiroshima, Japan, in the first use of the bomb as a weapon had an explosive force of 20 kilotons.

A megaton has the force of a million tons of TNT. A gigaton has the force of a billion tons of TNT.

kilowatt-hour The amount of electrical energy consumed when 1,000 watts are used for one hour.

The abbreviation kwh is acceptable on second reference.


king Capitalize only when used before the name of royalty: King George VI. Continue in subsequent references that use the king’s given name: King George, not George.

Lowercase king when it stands alone.

Capitalize in plural uses before names: Kings George and Edward.

Lowercase in phrases such as chess king Bobby Fischer.

See nobility and titles.

Kitty Litter A brand of absorbent material used in cat litter boxes. Use a generic term such as cat box litter.

Klan in America See Ku Klux Klan.

Kleenex A trademark for a brand of facial tissue.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines A KLM airliner is acceptable in any reference.

Headquarters is in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Kmart No hyphen, no space, lowercase m. Headquarters is in Troy, Mich.

Knesset The Israeli parliament. See foreign legislative bodies.


knight See nobility.

Knights of Columbus K. of C. or the Knights may be used on second reference.

See the fraternal organizations and service clubs entry.

knot A knot is 1 nautical mile (6,076.10 feet) per hour. It is redundant to say knots per hour.

To convert knots into approximate statute miles per hour, multiply knots by 1.15.

Always use figures: Winds were at 7 to 9 knots; a 10-knot wind.

See nautical mile.


Kodak A trademark for cameras and other photographic products made by Eastman Kodak Co. of Rochester, N.Y.

Koran The sacred book of Muslims, who believe that it contains the words of Allah dictated to the prophet Mohammed through the angel Gabriel.

Korean names North Korean names are generally three separate words, each starting with a capital letter: Kim Il Sung. South Korean names are three words with the second two names hyphenated and a lowercase letter after the hyphen: Kim Young-sam.

In all cases, the family name comes first.

Korean War But lowercase Korean conflict.

kosher Always lowercase.


Kriss Kringle Not Kris.

kudos It means credit or praise for an achievement.

The word is singular and takes singular verbs.

Ku Klux Klan There are 42 separate organizations known as the Klan in America.

Some of them do not use the full name Ku Klux Klan, but each may be called that, and the KKK initials may be used for any of them on second reference.

The two largest Klan organizations are the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based at Stone Mountain, Ga., and the United Klans of America, based at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

An Imperial Board, composed of leaders from the various groups, meets occasionally to coordinate activities.

Capitalize formal titles before a name: Imperial Wizard James R. Venable, Grand Dragon Dale Reusch. Members are Klansmen.

Kuomintang The Chinese Nationalist political party. Do not follow with the word party. Tang means party.

Kuril Islands Use in datelines after a community name in stories from these islands. Name an individual island, if needed, in the text.

Explain in the text that a small portion of the archipelago is claimed by Japan but most are part of Russia.

Kuwait Stands alone in datelines.