Macau Stands alone in datelines.

Mace A trademark, shortened from Chemical Mace, for a brand of tear gas that is packaged in an aerosol canister and temporarily stuns its victims.

machine gun (n.) But: machine-gun (v. and adj.), machine-gunner.

See weapons.

Mach number Named for Ernst Mach, an Austrian physicist, the figure represents the ratio of the speed of an object to the speed of sound in the surrounding medium, such as air, through which the object is moving.

A rule of thumb for speed of sound is approximately 750 miles per hour at sea level and approximately 660 miles per hour at 30,000 feet above sea level.

A body traveling at Mach 1 would be traveling at the speed of sound. Mach 2 would equal twice the speed of sound.

*mafia Lowercase as a synonym for organized crime. (A change in AP style.)

magazine names Capitalize the name but do not place it in quotes. Lower-case magazine unless it is part of the publication’s formal title: Harper’s Magazine, Newsweek magazine, Time magazine.

Check the masthead if in doubt.

magistrate Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name. See titles.

Magna Carta Not Magna Charta. An exception to Webster’s. The charter the English barons forced King John of England to grant at Runnymede in June 1215. It guaranteed certain civil and political liberties.

Mailgram A trademark for a telegram sent to a post office near the recipient’s address and delivered to the address by a letter carrier.

mailman Letter carrier or postal worker is preferable because many women hold this job.

Maine Do not abbreviate. See state names.

mainland China See China.

major See military titles.

majority, plurality Majority means more than half of an amount.

Plurality means more than the next highest number.

COMPUTING MAJORITY: To describe how large a majority is, take the figure that is more than half and subtract everything else from it: If 100,000 votes were cast in an election and one candidate received 60,000 while opponents received 40,000, the winner would have a majority of 20,000 votes.

COMPUTING PLURALITY: To describe how large a plurality is, take the highest number and subtract from it the next highest number: If, in the election example above, the second-place finisher had 25,000 votes, the winner’s plurality would be 35,000 votes.

Suppose, however, that no candidate in this example had a majority. If the first-place finisher had 40,000 votes and the second-place finisher had 30,000, for example, the leader’s plurality would be 10,000 votes.

USAGE: When majority and plurality are used alone, they take singular verbs and pronouns: The majority has made its decision.

If a plural word follows an of construction, the decision on whether to use a singular or plural verb depends on the sense of the sentence: A majority of two votes is not adequate to control the committee. The majority of the houses on the block were destroyed.

majority leader Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name: Majority Leader Richard Gephardt. Lowercase elsewhere.

See legislative titles and titles.

make up (v.) makeup (n., adj.)

malarkey Not malarky.

Maldives Use this official name with a community name in a dateline. The body of the story should note that the nation frequently is called the Maldive Islands.

Mallorca Use instead of Spain in datelines on stories from communities on this island. (This spelling is a change in AP style.)

man, mankind Either may be used when both men and women are involved and no other term is convenient. In these cases, do not use duplicate phrases such as a man or a woman or mankind and womankind.

Frequently the best choice is a substitute such as humanity, a person or an individual.

See women.


manager Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name: General Manager Dick O’Connell.

Do not capitalize in job descriptions such as equipment manager John Smith.

See titles.

managing editor Capitalize when used as a formal title before a name.

See titles.

Manitoba A province of central Canada. Do not abbreviate.

See datelines.

manslaughter See the homicide, murder, manslaughter entry.

mantel, mantle A mantel is a shelf. A mantle is a cloak.

Maoism (Maoist) The communist philosophy and policies of Mao Tse-tung. See the political parties and philosophies entry.

March See months.

Mardi Gras Literally fat Tuesday, the term describes a day of merrymaking on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

In New Orleans and many Roman Catholic countries, the Tuesday celebration is preceded by a week or more of parades and parties.

marijuana Not marihuana.

Marines Capitalize when referring to U.S. forces: the U.S. Marines, the Marines, the Marine Corps, Marine regulations. Do not use the abbreviation USMC.

Capitalize Marine when referring to an individual in a Marine Corps unit: He is a Marine.

Maritime Provinces The Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

marketbasket, marketplace

marquess, marchioness, marquis, marquise See nobility.

marshal, marshaled, marshaling, Marshall Marshal is the spelling for both the verb and the noun: Marilyn will marshal her forces. Erwin Rommel was a field marshal.

Marshall is used in proper names: George C. Marshall, John Marshall, the Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islands Named for John Marshall, a British explorer.

In datelines, give the name of a city and Marshall Islands. List the name of an individual island in the text.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., who was born Jan. 15, 1929, is on the third Monday in January. It was first celebrated in 1986.

Marxism (Marxist) The system of thought developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. See the political parties and philosophies entry.

Maryland Abbrev.: Md. See state names.

Mason-Dixon Line The boundary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, generally regarded as separating the North from the South. (Named for 18th-century surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the line later was extended to West Virginia.)

Masonite A trademark for a brand of hardboard.

Mass It is celebrated, not said. Always capitalize when referring to the ceremony, but lowercase any preceding adjectives: high Mass, low Mass, requiem Mass.

In Eastern Orthodox churches the correct term is Divine Liturgy.

See Roman Catholic Church.

Massachusetts Abbrev.: Mass. Legally a commonwealth, not a state.

See state and state names.

master of arts, master of science A master’s degree or a master’s is acceptable in any reference.

See academic degrees.

matrimony See sacraments.

maturity In a financial sense, the date on which a bond, debenture or note must be repaid.

See loan terminology in Business Guidelines.

May See months.

May Day, mayday May Day is May 1, often observed as a festive or political holiday.

Mayday is the international distress signal, from the French m’aidez, a reflexive verb meaning “help me.”

mayors’ conference See U.S. Conference of Mayors.

MC For master of ceremonies, but only in quoted matter. See emcee.

McDonnell Douglas Corp. Headquarters is in St. Louis.

M.D. A word such as physician or surgeon is preferred.

See doctor and academic titles.


mean See the average, mean, median, norm entry.

Medal of Freedom It is now the Presidential Medal of Freedom. See entry under that name.

Medal of Honor The nation’s highest military honor, given by Congress for risk of life in combat beyond the call of duty.

There is no Congressional Medal of Honor.

Medfly Mediterranean fruit fly. The capital M is an exception to Webster’s.

media In the sense of mass communication, such as magazines, newspapers, the news services, radio and television, the word is plural: The news media are resisting attempts to limit their freedom.

median See the average, mean, median, norm entry.

mediate See the arbitrate, mediate entry.

Medicaid A federal-state program that helps pay for health care for the needy, aged, blind and disabled, and for low-income families with children.

A state determines eligibility and which health services are covered. The federal government reimburses a percentage of the state’s expenditures.

Medicare The federal health care insurance program for people aged 65 and over, and for the disabled. Eligibility is based mainly on eligibility for Social Security.

Medicare helps pay charges for hospitalization, for stays in skilled nursing facilities, for physician’s charges and for some associated health costs. There are limitations on the length of stay and type of care.

In Canada, Medicare refers to the nation’s national health insurance program.

medicine See the drugs, medicine entry.


mega- A prefix denoting 1 million units of a measure. Move a decimal point six places to the right, adding zeros if necessary, to convert to the basic unit: 5.5 megatons = 5,500,000 tons.

megabyte One million bytes. Abbrev.: mb.


Melkite Church See Eastern Rite churches.

memento, mementos

memo, memos

memorandum, memorandums

Memorial Day Formerly May 30. The federal legal holiday is the last Monday in May.

menage a trois

menswear Not men’s wear.

Mercalli scale See earthquakes.

Mercurochrome A trademark for a brand of antiseptic for wounds.

meridians Use numerals and lower-case to identify the imaginary locater lines that ring the globe from north to south through the poles. They are measured in units of 0 to 180 degrees east and west of the prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England.

Examples: 33rd meridian (if location east or west of Greenwich is obvious), 1st meridian west, 100th meridian.

See the latitude and longitude entry.


messiah Capitalize in religious uses. Lowercase when used generically to mean a liberator.

meter The basic unit of length in the metric system.

It is equal to approximately 39.37 inches, which may be rounded off to 39.5 inches in most comparisons.

It takes 100 centimeters to make a meter.

It takes 1,000 meters to make a kilometer.

To convert to inches, multiply by 39.37 (5 meters x 39.37 = 196.85 inches).

To convert to yards, multiply by 1.1 (5 meters x 1.1 = 5.5 yards).

See inch; metric system; and yards.

Methodist churches The term Methodist originated as a nickname applied to a group of 18th-century Oxford University students known for their methodical application to Scripture study and prayer.

The principal Methodist body in the United States is the United Methodist Church, which also has some member conferences outside the United States. It was formed in 1968 by the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. It has about 10 million members.

The government of the United Methodist Church follows a stratified pattern from the General Conference through several intermediate conferences down to the local congregation.

The General Conference, which meets every four years, has final authority in all matters. Its members, half lay and half clergy, are elected by the annual conferences.

A Methodist bishop presides over a “church area,” which may embrace one or more annual conferences. Bishops have extensive administrative powers, including the authority to place, transfer and remove local church pastors, usually in consultation with district superintendents.

Districts in each conference are responsible for promotion of mission work, support of colleges, hospitals and publications, and examination of candidates for the ministry.

Members of a congregation form a charge conference. It elects officers to a board that assists the pastor.

Methodism in the United States also includes three major black denominations: the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Methodists believe in the Trinity and the humanity and divinity of Christ. There are two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Ordained individuals are known as bishops and ministers. Pastor applies if a minister leads a congregation.

For first references to bishops use the word: Bishop W. Kenneth Goodson of Richmond, Va.

For first reference to ministers, 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.

See religious titles.

metric system In general, metric terms should be included in a story when they are relevant.

There are no hard-and-fast rules on when they are relevant, but the following two guidelines have been developed to cover questions likely to arise as metric measurements gain increased acceptance in the United States:

—Use metric terms when they are the primary form in which the source of a story has provided statistics. Follow the metric units with equivalents in the terms more widely known in the United States. Normally, the equivalent should be in parentheses after the metric figure. A general statement such as: A kilometer equals about five-eighths of a mile, would be acceptable, however, to avoid repeated use of parenthetical equivalents in a story that uses kilometers many times.

—Provide metric equivalents for traditional forms if a metric unit has become widely known. As speedometers with kilometer markings become more prevalent, for example, a story about speed limits might list miles per hour and provide kilometers per hour in parentheses.

CONVERSION FORMULAS: A conversion table for frequently used metric terms follows.

In addition, separate entries for gram, meter, liter, Celsius and other frequently used metric units define them and give examples of how to convert them to equivalents in the terminology that has been used in the United States.

Similarly, entries for pound, inch, quart, Fahrenheit, etc., contain examples of how to convert these terms to metric forms.

To avoid the need for long strings of figures, prefixes are added to the metric units to denote fractional elements or large multiples. The prefixes are: pico- (one-trillionth), nano- (one-billionth), micro- (one-millionth), milli- (one-thousandth), centi- (one-hundredth), deci- (one-tenth), deka- (10 units), hecto- (100 units), giga- (1 billion units), tera- (1 trillion units). Entries for each prefix show how to convert a unit preceded by the prefix to the basic unit.

ABBREVIATIONS: The abbreviation mm for millimeter is acceptable in references to film widths (8 mm film) and weapons (a 105 mm cannon). (Note space between numeral and abbreviation.)

Do not otherwise use metric abbreviations in news copy.

The principal abbreviations, for reference in the event they are used by a source, are: g (gram), kg (kilogram), t (metric ton), m (meter), cm (centimeter), km (kilometer), mm (millimeter), L (liter, capital L to avoid confusion with the figure 1) and mL (milliliter).

metric ton Equal to approximately 2,204.62 pounds. See ton.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. MGM is acceptable in all references.

Headquarters is in Culver City, Calif.

Mexico City The city in Mexico stands alone in datelines.

Miami The city in Florida stands alone in datelines.

Michigan Abbrev.: Mich. See state names.

micro- A prefix denoting one-millionth of a unit.

Move a decimal point six places to the left in converting to the basic unit: 2,999,888.5 microseconds = 2.9998885 seconds.

mid- No hyphen unless a capitalized word follows:

mid-America midsemester

mid-Atlantic midterm

But use a hyphen when mid- precedes a figure: mid-30s.

Middle Ages A.D. 476 to approximately A.D. 1450.

Middle Atlantic States As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, they are New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Less formal references often consider Delaware part of the group.

See Northeast region.

middle class, middle-class He is a member of the middle class. She has middle-class values.

Middle East The term applies to southwest Asia west of Pakistan and Afghanistan (Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Yemen, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen), northeastern Africa (Egypt and Sudan), and the island of Cyprus.

Popular usage once distinguished between the Near East (the westerly nations in the listing) and the Middle East (the easterly nations), but the two terms now overlap, with current practice favoring Middle East for both areas.

Use Middle East unless Near East is used by a source in a story.

Mideast is also acceptable, but Middle East is preferred.

middle initials In general, use them. They are an integral part of a person’s name.

Particular care should be taken to include middle initials in stories where they help identify a specific individual. Examples include casualty lists and stories naming the accused in a crime.

A middle initial may be dropped if a person does not use one or is publicly known without it: Mickey Mantle (not Mickey C.), the Rev. Billy Graham (not Billy F.).

See names.


Middle West Definitions vary, but the term generally applies to the 12 states that the U.S. Census Bureau includes in the North Central region. See North Central region.

The shortened form Midwest is acceptable in all references.

The forms for adjectives are Middle Western, Midwestern.

See the directions and regions entry.

midnight Do not put a 12 in front of it. It is part of the day that is ending, not the one that is beginning.

midshipman See military academies.

MiG The i in this designation for a type of Russian fighter is lowercase because it is the Russian word for and. The initials are from the last names of the designers, Arten Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich.

The forms: MiG-19, MiG-21s.

See aircraft names.

mile Also called a statute mile, it equals 5,280 feet.

The metric equivalent is approximately 1.6 kilometers.

To convert to kilometers, multiply by 1.6 (5 miles x 1.6 equals 8 kilometers).

See foot; kilometer; knot; and nautical mile.

Use figures for amounts under 10 in dimensions, formulas and speeds: The farm measures 5 miles by 4 miles. The car slowed to 7 mph. The new model gets 4 miles more per gallon.

Spell out below 10 in distances: He drove four miles.

miles per gallon The abbreviation mpg is acceptable on second reference.

miles per hour The abbreviation mph (no periods) is acceptable in all references.

military academies Capitalize U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Military Acade-my, U.S. Naval Academy. Retain capitalization if the U.S. is dropped: the Air Force Academy, etc.

Lowercase academy whenever it stands alone.

Cadet is the proper title on first reference for men and women enrolled at the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard academies. Midshipman is the proper title for men and women enrolled at the Naval Academy.

Use the appropriate title on first reference. On second reference to a man, use his last name; on second reference to a woman, use Miss, Ms., Mrs. or no title before her last name depending on her preference.

military titles Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual’s name.

See the lists that follow to determine whether the title should be spelled out or abbreviated in regular text. Spell out any title used before a name in a direct quotation.

On first reference, use the appropriate title before the full name of a member of the military.

In subsequent references, do not continue using the title before a name. 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.

Spell out and lowercase a title when it is substituted for a name: Gen. John J. Pershing arrived today. An aide said the general would review the troops.

In some cases, it may be necessary to explain the significance of a title: Army Sgt. Maj. John Jones described the attack. Jones, who holds the Army’s highest rank for enlistees, said it was unprovoked.

In addition to the ranks listed on the next page, each service has ratings such as machinist, radarman, torpedoman, etc., that are job descriptions. Do not use any of these designations as a title on first reference. If one is used before a name in a subsequent reference, do not capitalize or abbreviate it.

ABBREVIATIONS: The abbreviations, with the highest ranks listed first:


Rank Usage before a name


Commissioned Officers

general Gen.

lieutenant general Lt. Gen.

major general Maj. Gen.

brigadier general Brig. Gen.

colonel Col.

lieutenant colonel Lt. Col.

major Maj.

captain Capt.

first lieutenant 1st Lt.

second lieutenant 2nd Lt.

Warrant Officers

chief warrant Chief Warrant

officer Officer

warrant officer Warrant Officer

Enlisted Personnel

sergeant major Sgt. Maj. of the Army

of the Army

command sergeant Command Sgt. Maj.


sergeant major Sgt. Maj.

first sergeant 1st Sgt.

master sergeant Master Sgt.

sergeant first class Sgt. 1st Class

staff sergeant Staff Sgt.

sergeant Sgt.

corporal Cpl.

specialist Spc.

private first class Pfc.

private Pvt.


Commissioned Officers

admiral Adm.

vice admiral Vice Adm.

rear admiral upper Rear Adm.


rear admiral lower Rear Adm.


captain Capt.

commander Cmdr.

lieutenant Lt. Cmdr.


lieutenant Lt.

lieutenant junior Lt. j.g.


ensign Ensign

Warrant Officers

chief warrant Chief Warrant

officer Officer

warrant officer Warrant Officer

Enlisted Personnel

master chief Master Chief

petty officer Petty Officer

senior chief Senior Chief

petty officer Petty Officer

chief petty officer Chief Petty Officer

petty officer Petty Officer

first class 1st class

petty officer Petty Officer

second class 2nd class

petty officer Petty Officer

third class 3rd class

seaman Seaman

seaman apprentice Seaman Apprentice

seaman recruit Seaman Recruit


Ranks and abbreviations for commissioned officers are the same as those in the Army. Warrant officer ratings follow the same system used in the Navy. There are no specialist ratings.


sergeant major Sgt. Maj.

master gunnery Master Gunnery Sgt.


master sergeant Master Sgt.

first sergeant 1st Sgt.

gunnery sergeant Gunnery Sgt.

staff sergeant Staff Sgt.

sergeant Sgt.

corporal Cpl.

lance corporal Lance Cpl.

private first class Pfc.

private Pvt.


Ranks and abbreviations for commissioned officers are the same as those in the Army.

Enlisted Designations

chief master Chief Master Sgt.

sergeant of the of the Air Force

Air Force

senior master Senior Master Sgt.


technical sergeant Tech. Sgt.

staff sergeant Staff Sgt.

sergeant Sgt.

senior airman Senior Airman

airman first class Airman 1st Class

airman Airman

airman basic Airman

PLURALS: Add s to the principal element in the title: Majs. John Jones and Robert Smith; Maj. Gens. John Jones and Robert Smith; Spcs. John Jones and Robert Smith.

RETIRED OFFICERS: A military rank may be used in first reference before the name of an officer who has retired if it is relevant to a story. Do not, however, use the military abbreviation Ret.

Instead, use retired just as former would be used before the title of a civilian: They invited retired Army Gen. John Smith.

FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE OFFICERS: Use the abbreviations listed here when a military-style title is used before the name of a firefighter or police officer outside a direct quotation. Add police or fire before the title if needed for clarity: police Sgt. William Smith, fire Capt. David Jones.

Spell out titles such as detective that are not used in the armed forces.

military units Use Arabic figures and capitalize the key words when linked with the figures: 1st Infantry Division (or the 1st Division), 5th Battalion, 395th Field Artillery, 7th Fleet.

But: the division, the battalion, the artillery, the fleet.

milli- A prefix denoting one-thousandth of a unit. Move a decimal three places to the left in converting to the basic unit: 1,567.5 millimeters equals 1.5675 meters.

milligram One-thousandth of a gram.

Equal to approximately one-twenty-eight-thousandth of an ounce.

To convert to ounces, multiply by 0.000035 (140 milligrams x 0.000035 equals 0.0049 ounces).

See metric system.

milliliter One-thousandth of a liter.

Equal to approximately one-fifth of a teaspoon.

Thirty milliliters equals 1 fluid ounce.

To convert to teaspoons, multiply by .2 (5 milliliters x .2 equals 1 teaspoon).

See liter and metric system.

millimeter One-thousandth of a meter.

It takes 10 millimeters to make a centimeter.

A millimeter is roughly equal to the thickness of a paper clip.

To convert to inches, multiply by .04 (5 millimeters x .04 is .2 of an inch).

May be abbreviated as mm when used with a numeral in first or subsequent references to film or weapons: 35 mm film, 105 mm artillery piece. (Note space after numeral.)

See meter; metric system; and inch.

millions, billions Use figures with million or billion in all except casual uses: I’d like to make a billion dollars. But: The nation has 1 million citizens. I need $7 billion.

Do not go beyond two decimal places: 7.51 million people, $256 billion, 7,542,500 people, $2,565,750,000. Decimals are preferred where practical: 1.5 million. Not: 1 1/2 million.

Do not mix millions and billions in the same figure: 2.6 billion. Not: 2 billion 600 million.

Do not drop the word million or billion in the first figure of a range: He is worth from $2 million to $4 million. Not: $2 to $4 million, unless you really mean $2.

Note that a hyphen is not used to join the figures and the word million or billion, even in this type of phrase: The president submitted a $300 billion budget.

milquetoast Not milk toast when referring to a shrinking, apologetic person. Derived from Caspar Milquetoast, a character in a comic strip by Harold T. Webster.

Milwaukee The city in Wisconsin stands alone in datelines.

mimeograph Formerly a trademark, now a generic term.

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

minibus miniskirt


minister It is not a formal title. Do not use it before the name of a member of the clergy.

See religious titles and the entry for an individual’s denomination.

ministry See foreign governmental bodies.

Minneapolis The city in Minnesota stands alone in datelines.

Minnesota Abbrev.: Minn. See state names.

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Preferred use is 3M for this company headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. Its products are known under the names 3M and Scotch.

minority leader Treat the same as majority leader. See that entry and legislative titles.

minuscule Not miniscule.

minus sign Use a hyphen, not a dash, but use the word minus if there is any danger of confusion.

Use a word, not a minus sign, to indicate temperatures below zero: minus 10 or 5 below zero.

mips Acronym for million instructions per second. Spell out on first reference.

MIRV, MIRVs Acceptable on first reference for multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle(s).

Explain in the text that a MIRV is an intercontinental ballistic missile with several warheads, each of which can be directed to a different target.

misdemeanor See the felony, misdemeanor entry.

mishap A minor misfortune. People are not killed in mishaps.

Miss See courtesy titles.

missile names Use Arabic figures and capitalize the proper name but not the word missile: Pershing 2 missile.


Mississippi Abbrev.: Miss. See state names.

Missouri Abbrev.: Mo. See state names.

mix up (v.) mix-up (n. and adj.)

Mobil Corp. Headquarters is in Fairfax, Va.

Mobil Oil Corp. is a subsidiary.

mock-up (n.)

model numbers See serial numbers.

modem Modulator/demodulator.

Mohammed The preferred spelling for the name of the founder of the Islamic religion.

Monaco After the Vatican, the world’s smallest state.

The Monaco section stands alone in datelines. The other two sections, La Condamine and Monte Carlo, are followed by Monaco:

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) —

Monday See days of the week.

Monday morning quarterback One who second-guesses.

M-1, M-14 See weapons.

monetary See the fiscal, monetary entry.

monetary units See cents; dollars; and pounds.


monsignor See Roman Catholic Church.

Montana Abbrev.: Mont. See state names.

Montessori method After Maria Montessori, a system of training young children. It emphasizes training of the senses and guidance to encourage self-education.


months Capitalize the names of months in all uses. When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out when using alone, or with a year alone.

When a phrase lists only a month and a year, do not separate the year with commas. When a phrase refers to a month, day and year, set off the year with commas.

EXAMPLES: January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. His birthday is May 8. Feb. 14, 1987, was the target date.

In tabular material, use these three-letter forms without a period: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.

See dates and years.

Montreal The city in Canada stands alone in datelines.

monuments Capitalize the popular names of monuments and similar public attractions: Lincoln Memorial, Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc.

moon Lowercase. See heavenly bodies.


mop up (v.) mop-up (n. and adj.)

Moral Majority Not the Moral Majority.

more than See over.

Mormon Church Acceptable in all references for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but always include the full name in a story dealing primarily with church activities.

See the entry under the formal name.

Moscow The city in Russia stands alone in datelines.

Moslem(s) The preferred term to describe adherents of Islam is Muslim(s).

mosquito, mosquitoes

mother-in-law, mothers-in-law

Mother Nature

Mother’s Day The second Sunday in May.

motor See the engine, motor entry.

mount Spell out in all uses, including the names of communities and of mountains: Mount Clemens, Mich.; Mount Everest.

mountains Capitalize as part of a proper name: Appalachian Mountains, Ozark Mountains, Rocky Mountains.

Or simply: the Appalachians, the Ozarks, the Rockies.

Mountain Standard Time (MST), Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) See time zones.

Mountain States As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, the eight are Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

movie ratings The ratings used by the Motion Picture Association of America are:

GGeneral audiences. All ages admitted.

PGParental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

PG-13 — Special parental guidance strongly suggested for children under 13. Some material may be inappropriate for young children.

RRestricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

NC-17 — No one under 17 admitted.

When the ratings are used in news stories or reviews, use these forms as appropriate: the movie has an R rating, an R-rated movie, the movie is R-rated.

movie titles See composition titles.

mph Acceptable in all references for miles per hour or miles an hour.

Mr., Mrs. The plural of Mr. is Messrs.; the plural of Mrs. is Mmes.

These abbreviated spellings apply in all uses, including direct quotations.

See courtesy titles for guidelines on when to use Mr. and Mrs.

Ms. This is the spelling and punctuation for all uses of the courtesy title, including direct quotations.

There is no plural. If several women who prefer Ms. must be listed in a series, repeat Ms. before each name.

See courtesy titles for guidelines on when to use Ms.

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

multicolored multimillion

multilateral multimillionaire

Multigraph A trademark for a brand of dictating machine.

Multilith A trademark for a brand of duplicating machine.

murder See the homicide, murder, manslaughter entry.

murderer See the assassin, killer, murderer entry.

Murphy’s law The law is: If something can go wrong, it will.

music Capitalize, but do not use quotation marks, on descriptive titles for orchestral works: Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Orchestra; Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola. If the instrumentation is not part of the title but is added for explanatory purposes, the names of the instruments are lowercased: Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major (the common title) for violin and viola. If in doubt, lowercase the names of the instruments.

Use quotation marks for non-musical terms in a title: Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony. If the work has a special full title, all of it is quoted: “Symphonie Fantastique,” “Rhapsody in Blue.”

In subsequent references, lowercase symphony, concerto, etc.

musket See weapons.

Muslims The preferred term to describe adherents of Islam.

A Black Muslim is a member of a predominantly black Islamic sect in the United States. However, the term is considered derogatory by members of the sect, who call themselves Muslims.

Mutual Broadcasting System Inc. Mutual Radio is acceptable in all references. Use Mutual, not MBS, in subsequent references.

Muzak A trademark for a type of recorded background music.