Listed here are exceptions to AP Stylebook or Merriam-Webster online and house style for new and sometimes confusing terms

Updated May 2024

  • A

    Alzheimer’s disease

    African American, Asian American (no hyphens)

    American Indian or Native American (conform to usage in cited research or source preference)

    amid, among preferred (amidst, amongst in M-W as less common)

    anesthesia, not anaesthesia (except in faculty titles or British spelling)

    anti- close up in most cases; look in M-W and AP for exceptions and consider clarity for the reader


    Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI second reference)

    attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • B

    B cell (noun); B-cell (adjective)

    Black, but white, brown


  • C

    CAR T-cell therapy, but CAR T cells

    cesarean section, but C-section

    COVID-19; COVID (all caps)

    COVID terms: Default to long COVID. Other terms: post-COVID conditions, long-haul COVID, post-acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), long-term effects of COVID, chronic COVID, post-COVID conditions (PCC)


  • D


    decision-making (in all uses)

    Democratic senator, not Democrat senator

    dengue, but Zika

    DACA recipients; use Dreamers sparingly

    dox, doxed, doxing 

  • E

    eastern equine encephalitis (EEE); eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE virus)

    email, online, website

    extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (not extremely)

  • F


  • G


    google (verb); Google (company name)

  • H

    health care, but childcare, eldercare


    house officer

    Huntington’s disease

  • I

    ID as abbreviated form of identify/identified/identifies in heads and decks

    ID'd, but IDs

    Immigrate to the U.S. [or other country]; emigrate from [country] to the U.S. [or other country]

  • L

    LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, plus); plus = other gender/sexual identities, such as intersex, asexual. OK to use a variant if a source requests it, in quoted material, or when writing about research that uses a different initialism

    lifespan; health span; time span

    Listserv (trademark of L-Soft International); use email list unless the software being used is Listserv

    livestream; livestreaming

    long-term; in the long term

    Lyme disease

  • M

    machine learning (n.); machine-learning (adj.)

    Mother's Day (AP)

    mpox (monkeypox)

  • N

    non- close up in most cases; look in M-W and AP for exceptions and consider clarity for the reader: nonprofit

  • O

    OB-GYN (obstetrician-gynecologist)

    obesity/overweight (conform to usage in cited research or source preference)

    older adult, older person/people; do not use elderly, senior citizen

    opioid addiction, opioid use (not abuse), opioid crisis

    organs-on-a-chip; [cervix]-on-a-chip

    orthopedics, not orthopaedics (except in academic titles or British usage)

  • P

    Patriots’ Day; Presidents Day (AP)

    pediatrics, not paediatrics (except in academic titles, journal titles, or British English usage)

    percent, not % (there may be exceptions for charts and the like)

    phase 1, 2, 3 clinical trial (lowercase, Arabic numeral)



    pregnant woman/women; pregnant person/people; people who may become pregnant (conform to usage in cited research or source preference)


  • R




    RNA sequencing, but RNA-sequencing technique

  • S

    sickle cell disease


    State of the School Address

    stem cell gene


    suicide: do not use committed suicide; instead: died by suicide/took their own life

  • T

    T cell (noun); T-cell (adjective)

    television, not TV

    they (singular, plural pronoun)


    trans fat (no italics)

    type 1/2 diabetes (lowercase, Arabic numeral)

  • U


    URiM (underrepresented in medicine)

    U.S. for United States when preceding what it modifies: U.S. economy, but economy of the United States

  • V

    versus; vs. in short expressions (guns vs. butter )

    Veterans Day (AP)

    vice chair, vice president

  • W


    white, but Black

  • X

    X-ray (adjective, noun, verb)

  • Z