word list

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Words that are not Merriam-Webster’s first choice – or that are not even in MW11 – are marked with an asterisk. Comments begin with a vertical bar symbol. Entries may end with a second bar followed by the date the entry was made or last reviewed. (a=2010, b=2011, …)

Entries that may be introductory constructions begin with a cap and end with a comma. For more on introductory constructions, see the note at the end of the list.

15-, 30- and 60-second spots
3D* | in MW11 as 3-D; see Journal | 0525a
50 cal* | (no period) a .50-caliber rifle or machine gun| 0705b
9/11*
::
acknowledgment
ad-free* (adj & adv) | by analogy with rent-free and toll-free | 0614a
aesthetic
After all,
afterward | no s; also *ward, not *wards – no exceptions | 0525a
air-condition (tr v)
air conditioner (n)
air conditioning* (n) | Random House: | 0525a
air force
AK-47
all-new
all right | but don’t change alright used in an informal, idiomatic piece
aka | a.k.a. is not in Merriam-Webster | 0529a
Also,
Alternatively,
analyze
anti- (prefix) | hyphenated in MW11 only before an “i” or a cap and here:
anti-art (n)
anti-federalist (n)
anti-roll bar (n)
anti-sweatshop* (adj)
anti-utopia (n)
anti-utopian (n & adj)
Anyway,
appealing
appendix, appendices
Arab Spring | cap spring | 0728b
Arctic (n & adj)
As well, | but try to avoid this introductory construction
asap* | MW11 requires periods when ASAP is lowercased | 0531a
award winner
award-winning
ax
::
backwater
backward | see afterward
backyard
barbecue | not BBQ
behavior, behavioral
benefited, benefiting
best-selling
bestseller* | American Heritage | 0528a
bioeconomy* | not in any mainstream dictionary | 0625a
bow tie, bow-tied
breakdown (n)
breathtaking
broadcast | not broadcasted
bush plane
byproduct* | American Heritage | 0522d
::
café
campfire
campsite
canceled, canceling
cannot | use two-word form only for effect
catalog, cataloger, cataloging | catalogue is a variant | 0705a
CD-ROM
center
chair | not chairman, chairwoman, or chairperson
chock-full | Merriam-Webster lists chockful as a variant | 0623a
chosenness* | Random House | 0526a
clamor
clear-cut (n & v), clear-cutting
cliffhanger
co- (prefix) | Merriam-Webster lists no hyphenated forms except these:
co-brand (tr v)
co-edition (n)
co-occur
co-occurrence
co-occurrent
co-official
co-op (n)
co-opt (tr v)
co-pay (n)
co-payment (n)
co-organizer
co-own
co-owner
co-ownership
coastline
color
commandos | not commandoes
commonsense (adj) | common sense (n) | 0722b
Consequently,
controlled, controlling
cookbook
copy-edit (intr v)
copy editor | but copyediting (n) and copyedit (tr v), copy-edit* (intr v)
copyedit (tr v)
copyediting (n)
copywriter, copywriting
counter (prefix) | Merriam-Webster lists no hyphenated forms
couple | “A couple without of is firmly established …” [link]
couple of | use discernment: do not automatically delete of
criss-cross (n, v, adj)
cross-country
crowd-pleaser, crowd-pleasing
cutting edge (n)
cutting-edge (adj)
::
damn it | or dammit, sometimes
day one | no caps | 0818a
day trip
decision-making
defense
demeanor
descendant
dialog box
dialogue (n) | avoid the verb | 0705a
diehard
discernible
dispatch | despatch in the UK
disk, disk drive
distill, distilled
doable
dog-eared
dos and don’ts | avoid an apostrophe in the first word | 0705a
Douglas fir
drier | see dry
drily
drugstore
dust jacket
dry (adj) | drier, driest
dryer (n) | a device for drying
::
each other | if two meant; one another if more than two meant
Earth | the planet
earth-shattering | lowercase e for most idioms: where on earth, etc.
the East, the Eastern world | but eastern Canada
East Coast, East | referring to parts of Canada and the US
editor in chief | editor-in-chief in the UK
email
emphasize
endeavor
::
facade
fault line
favor, favorite
fiber
fifty-fifty (adj & adv) | 50-50 wins 50:1 in a filtered NYT search; just sayin’
filmmaker
Finally
Finally,
firestorm
firepit
first-class (adj)
First Nations
first, second, third | not firstly, secondly, thirdly
firsthand (adj & adv) | first-hand in the UK | 0705b
five-star restaurant, hotel, etc.
float plane
flush toilet* | not in mainstream American dictionaries | 0528a
focused, focusing
for a while | not for awhile
fourth | see half
free market (n)
free-market* (adj) | Random House
French Canadian (n), French-Canadian (adj)
French-speaking
freshwater (adj)
fresh water (n)
fueled, fueling
fulfill, fulfilled, fulfillment
full-blown
full-time (adj & adv) | see part-time
fundraiser, fundraising
funneled, funneling || 0830c
::
get-together (n)
glamour
goodbye* (n & int) | Random House, American Heritage, tweet | 0427c
Gothic
governor general
gray, gray whale
grueling | gruelling is a variant | 1124c
guerrilla
guidebook
::
half | one-half, two-thirds, three-quarters, four-fifths (CMOS14 8.13)
half-assed | many compounds with half are hyphenated; see list | 0807d
half persuaded | half as an adverb: her partner was half persuaded
halfway (adj & adv)
handbook
handcrafted
hardcover (n & adj)
hardwired
heads-up (n & adj)
health food (n & adj)
healthcare* (n & adj) | Random House | 0707b
high school (n & adj) | open compound
honor, honorable
housewarming
how-to, how-tos
However,
human race | use neutral term: humanity, humankind or human beings
humor
hyper (prefix) | Merriam-Webster lists no hyphenated forms
hyper-individual* | may or may not also be a hyper individual | 0528a
hyperindividual* (adj)
hyperindividualism* | by analogy with hyperrealism | 0603a
hyphenation | guidelines, by increasing length >::>>::>>>::>>>> | 1018c
::
in light of | in the light of in the UK; filtered search of nytimes.com
ice-cold (adj)
imperil, imperiled, imperiling
impulse buy (n & v)
indispensable
inquire, inquiry
install
installment
instill, instilled, instilling
internet* | not Internet
::
jewelry
judgment
Judification* | used by Gilad Atzmon | 0526a
jump start (n)
jump-start (v) | jumpstart is not in any mainstream dictionaries | 0706b
::
kick-start
kilometer
::
leaped | not leapt
left | the left; no cap; same goes for the right | 0721b
left wing (n) || 0721b
left-wing (adj) || 0721b
left-winger (n) || 0721b
leveled, leveling
license (n & v)
lieutenant governor
lifestyle
life-threatening
lifetime
light | see in light of
light-footed
lighthearted
lighthouse
likable
lily of the valley
lineup
liter (abbr L)
living room (n & adj)
loath (adj)
loathe (v)
log in (intr v)
log-in (n)
long-standing
longtime
lowercase (n, v & adj)
::
man-made (depr) | deprecated; use gender-neutral constructed
maneuver | not manoeuvre
marvel, marveled, marveling
marvelous
may | use instead of might wherever it still makes sense if you do
Meanwhile
Meanwhile,
medieval
meter
middle class (n), middle-class (adj)
Middle East
might | use may wherever you can | 1124c
milliliter | abbr mL
mindshift* | not in any mainstream dictionaries | 0624a
misdemeanor
modeled, modeling
Moreover,
mold
mountainside
mouth-watering
movable
Muhammad
Muslim
multicultural
must-have (n & adj)
must-read* (n & adj) | American Heritage | 1124c
mustache
::
naïve,* naïvely,* naïvety* | Merriam-Webster variants
Native people | First Nations in Canada
net* | not Net; see internet
nature | but Mother Nature
neighbor
neoliberal
no one
non- (prefix) | MW11 lists no hyphenated forms except these four:
non-euclidean
non-insulin-dependent diabetes (n)
non-oil (adj)
non-self-governing
nonprofit (n & adj) || 1212b
Northwest Territories
not-for-profit (adj) | OK in previously published text |1212b
number one (n & adj) | open compound:
::
odor
offense
off-site
offstage
OK
old-growth forest
one-half | see half
one-time
ongoing
online
onto | except in cases like this: They walked on to the house.
out of print | hyphenate as for out of date; filtered search of nytimes.com
over- (prefix) | MW11 lists no hyphenated forms; but:
over-the-counter
over-the-hill
over-the-top
over-the-transom
overfarmed* | not found in any dictionaries by OneLook | 0711a
::
Pacific Coast, Pacific Ocean, Pacific Rim, Pacific salmon
palatable
part-time (adj & adv) | it was a part-time job; they worked part-time
partway
percent
phony
plow
post- (prefix) | MW11 hyphenates only before a cap and here:
post-communion
post-free
post-horse
post-op
post-polio syndrome
post-structuralism
post-traumatic stress disorder | but see list under MW11/post-
posttransmission* | scientific term; not found by OneLook | 0709a
powerbroker* | Random House | 0528a
practice (n & v)
Prairies, the (for Canadian provinces) | but prairie (for western grassland)
pre- (prefix) | MW11 hyphenates only before a cap and in these three:
pre-engineered
pre-op
pre-owned
pre-position* | American Heritage; MW11 has no listing for this meaning
pretense
program, programmed
protester | MW11 shows protestor too; Macmillan (AmE) doesn’t | 0823b
::
rainforest
re- (prefix) | MW11 lists no hyphenated forms except for these 12 words:
re-Christianize
re-collect
re-cover
re-create
re-form
re-lease
re-present
re-press
re-sign
re-sort
re-tread, re-treading, re-trod, re-trodden | different from retread
re-up | hyphen not needed to avoid confusion, but hey
realize
real life (n), real-life (adj)
rerelease* (n & v) | Random House
résumé
rewild* | Word Spy | 0609a
right | see left | 0721b
rigor
riveted, riveting
rock climbing
rock face
riverbank, riverbed, river bottom
running water
runoff
::
safe house
salable, salability
salt water (n), saltwater (adj)
savor
seabed
seabird
sea stack
seawall
seawater (n)
second-best
second-growth forest
self-esteem
setup (n)
shined | he shined (or shone in the UK) his flashlight into the car
shone | her face shone with delight … past tense of shine (intr)
shortcut
shout-out (n)
sidebar
side effect
signaled, signaling
sizable
skeptical
skillful
Sitka spruce
snow-capped
So
So,
somber
sought-after
spatial | spacial is a variant | 0706b
starfish
startup* (n & adj) | in no mainstream dictionaries | 1126c
story, stories | a three-story building
storyline
Strait of Georgia
Strait of Juan de Fuca
stream bed
subspecies
surefire
::
table talk
table wine
taste buds
tête-à-tête
thank you | but a wonderful thank-you; a thank-you note
theater
Therefore,
third | see half
Third World | or Developing World
Thus,
tide line
timeline
time stamp* (n) | OK to use to mean a record of date and time | 0730b
time-stamp (tr v) | MW11 | 0730b
timetable
tipping point* | not found by OneLook in American dictionaries | 0528a
toll-free (adj & adv)
Too,
totaled | totaled over $2 billion
toward | not towards; see afterward
trailhead
tranquility
treeline
traveled, traveler, traveling
troubleshoot, troubleshooter, troubleshooting
T-shirt
TV
::
un- (prefix) | hyphenated in MW11 only before a cap: un-American
under- (prefix) | Merriam-Webster lists no hyphenated forms; but:
under-the-counter
under-the-table
underway (adv* & adj) | 0528a
US*
usable
use to | She didn’t use to care. Did she use to smoke?
used to | She used to smoke. | 0529a
::
valor
versus (abbr vs.) | the abbreviation is “often punctuated”
vice admiral
vice-chancellor
vice-consul
vice president
vice-regent
vigor
vs. | see versus | 0707b
::
wake-up (adj) || 0720b
wake-up* (n) | Random House | 0720b
watershed
web* | not Web; see internet
Web 2.0* | not web 2.0; follow Wired style for this proper noun
Web 3.0* | by analogy with Web 2.0
web link* | but use just link if the context lets you
web page* | but use just page if the context lets you
web server* | but use just server if the context lets you
website* | but use just site if the context lets you
well-being | wellbeing in the UK
West Coast
West, the | for North America, Europe and the rest of the Western world
Western | but he played the bad guy in that western
westernized
whisky | Scotch whisky or rye whisky, but Irish whiskey
whitewater (n & adj)
willpower
wineglass
winegrower
wine list
winemaker, winemaking
wine tasting
woolen
world-class
worldwide
World Wide Web | not WWW
::
year-end
year round (adv) | that plant flowers year round
year-round (adj)
Yet
Yet,

# # #

Note: Introductory Constructions

Any clause may be preceded by an introductory construction. Some people say it is never incorrect to use a comma to set this off from the clause. But this is a cop-out. You can make copy less choppy by leaving out the comma whenever you can. So please do.

An introductory construction may be restrictive (defining, essential) or nonrestrictive (parenthetical, nonessential), and it may be a word (Meanwhile), a phrase (Of course) or a dependent clause (If you want to). It also may be quite long.

Note that the above two paragraphs together imply that setting-off (bracketing) commas indicate nonrestrictive (parenthetical, nonessential) constructions only when these constructions are not introductory.

Single words in the list that are often used as introductory constructions are capitalized and followed by a comma. They are preceded by what looks like a duplicate entry without the comma if they can be used like that.

In real life an introductory construction may follow a conjunction – ideally not separated from it by a comma – and in that case it is not capitalized.

Reading the examples should give you a feel for when you can leave out the comma. Included below are without-the-comma examples of introductory constructions that are not single words.

Examples of Introductory Constructions

(This list is new and will grow if this idea turns out to be a good one. )

If you want to you can call me.
In that case an example is given in the list below.
Meanwhile nothing changed.
Of course he did.
So please do.