Headlinese is an abbreviated writing style used in newspaper headlines.[1] Because space is limited, headlines are written in a compressed telegraphic style, using special syntactic conventions, including:

Some periodicals have their own distinctive headline styles, such Variety and its entertainment-jargon headlines, most famously "Sticks Nix Hick Pix".

Commonly used short words

To save space, headlines often use extremely short words (many of which are not in common use otherwise) in unusual or idiosyncratic ways:

  • axe (eliminate)
  • amid (at the same time as)
  • bid (attempt)
  • blast (heavily criticize)
  • chop (eliminate)
  • confab (meeting)
  • curb (reduce)
  • duo (two people)
  • eye (consider)
  • foe
  • fold (shut down)
  • fury
  • gal
  • guy
  • hike (increase)
  • hit
  • hype
  • ink (sign a contract)
  • laud (praise)
  • lull
  • mar
  • mull (consider)
  • nab
  • nix (reject)
  • parley (meeting)
  • pen (write)
  • pose
  • probe (investigate)
  • quiz (question)
  • rap (criticize)
  • revel
  • rout
  • see (forecast)
  • slam (heavily criticize)
  • stun
  • temblor (earthquake)
  • tout (endorse)
  • vie (compete)
  • vow (promise)
  • woe (problem)

Many verbs can be converted into nouns, e.g. "rap" could be understood as either "criticize" or "criticism" depending on context.

See also


  1. โ†‘ Headlinese Collated definitions via www.wordnik.com
  2. โ†‘ "Bush, Blair laugh off microphone mishap". CNN. 2006-07-21. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  3. โ†‘ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35087050

Further reading

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