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This page is considered a guideline on Wikipedia. It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle. However, it is not policy. Feel free to update the page as needed, but please use the discussion page to propose major changes.

For style guidelines, see Manual of Style (disambiguation pages)

Disambiguation in Wikipedia and Wikimedia is the process of resolving ambiguity—meaning the conflicts that occur when articles about two or more different topics have the same "natural" title. In other words, disambiguations are types of turnpikes that lead to different meanings of a related word.

Wikipedia thrives on the fact that making links is simple and automatic: as you're typing in an edit window, put brackets around Mercury (like this: [[Mercury]]) and you'll have a link. But were you intending to link to Mercury the element, the planet, the automobile brand, the record label, the NASA manned-spaceflight project, or the Roman god?

Disambiguation should not be confused with the merging of duplicate articles (articles with different titles, but regarding the very same topic, for example "Gas Turbine" and "Gas turbine", or "loo" and "restroom").


Two different methods of disambiguating are discussed here: disambiguation links and disambiguation pages. In the first case, an article discussing one particular meaning of a term has a link at the top (or, rarely, at the bottom) pointing the user to another page with a similar title. A disambiguation page contains no article content, only links to other Wikipedia pages.

When to disambiguate

Disambiguation serves a single purpose: to let the reader choose among different pages that might reside under the same title.

Do not disambiguate, or add a link to a disambiguation page, if there is no risk of confusion. Ask yourself: When a reader enters this term and pushes "Go", what article would they realistically be expecting to view as a result? Disambiguation pages are not search indices — do not add links that merely contain part of the page title where there is no significant risk of confusion.

Disambiguation links

When a user searches for a particular term, they may have something else in mind than what actually comes up. In this case, a friendly link to the alternate article is placed at the top. For example, the article Quaoar is about the heavenly body, but it has a link saying:

This article is about the trans-Neptunian object. For the Tongva god, see Quaoar (deity).

If there is more than one such alternative page, create a link to a disambiguation page (see below). One of the templates shown below may be used, or a custom message such as

Bach redirects here. For other uses, see Bach (disambiguation)

which appears on the Johann Sebastian Bach page. Don't pipe the link; leave the linked article title as is.

One can also disambiguate at the bottom of the article like this:

'''Horse''' is also a [[slang]] term for the [[recreational drug]] [[heroin]].

Some editors believe this makes them harder to find, however.

Templates for disambiguation links

A number of templates have been created to ensure a common appearance of disambiguation links:

For other uses, see ArticleName (disambiguation).
This article is about BlahBlahBlah; for other meanings, see ArticleName (disambiguation).
For other uses, see DifferentArticleName (disambiguation).
For other uses, see DifferentArticleName or AnotherArticleName.
This article is about the year. For other uses, see number 1492.
For other places with the same name, see ArticleName (disambiguation).
For other places with the same name, see DifferentArticleName (disambiguation).

If you need a disambiguation link with custom text:

Disambiguation pages

These have links only, like this:

Blah may mean:

A disambiguation page may have a name like Blah (disambiguation) or may be named after the general term Blah; see page naming, below.

Style for disambiguation pages is detailed at Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages). Highlights:

  • Put the article title in bold as an intro.
  • Start each line with the link to the target page.
  • Don't wikilink any other words.
  • Only include references to related subject articles if the term in question actually is described on that page (for example, Canton legitimately has a link to Flag terminology).
  • Include the template {{disambig}} at the bottom.

You may want to disambiguate on the same page:

  • TITLE and Title
  • Title town and Title township

What NOT to put on disambiguation pages

The considerations of what Wikipedia is not are not magically invalidated for disambiguation pages. Dictionary definitions don't belong here, nor do lists of articles of which the disambiguated term forms a part of the article title. If there is a separate list article, however, it makes sense to have a link to it in a "See also" section; for example, List of people whose first name is Michael should have a link from Michael.

Disambiguation pages are not intended for games of "free association". Please use them carefully and only when needed.

Disambiguation descriptions should not be created for subjects whose only articles are only on pages of sister projects, even if the disambiguation page already exists (e.g., the poll on 9/11 victims). However, there are templates for linking to Wiktionary; see Wikipedia:How to link to Wikimedia projects#Wiktionary. Subjects which have articles on both Wikipedia and sister projects are, of course, fine.


On a page called Title, generally do not disambiguate:

  • Title County
  • Title City
  • Title Hospital
  • Title University

"Title Island", "Title River" or "River Title" may be worth listing in cases where the "Island"/"River" part is often omitted.

In most cases, do not list names of which Title is a part, unless the persons are very frequently referred to simply by their first or last name (e.g. Galileo, Shakespeare).


Pages of common two and three letter abbreviations group series of possible expansions for the letters, such as chemical element symbols, similar to disambiguation pages. These should be expanded beforehand. Such pages facilitate navigation and replace disambiguation pages. See Wikipedia:Disambiguation and abbreviations for details.

Multi-stub pages

  • Sections on one page: Several small articles of just a paragraph or so each can co-exist on a single page, separated by headings. Although this is a disambiguation page, the disambiguation notice should not be put here as the page doesn't link to other articles with similar title. But as each section grows, there comes a point where each meaning must have a page of its own.

Although a few pages (such as bug (disambiguation)) rely on this principle, it has become more common on Wikipedia for each subject to get a separate page for its own stub.


In general, inline descriptions are problematic because links to disambiguation pages should be avoided, so they are likely to be neglected for lack of visibility. Common misspellings should only be listed if you would redirect to the correct title if there were no other disambiguations, and as noted above, only if the articles exist or should be written and there is a real risk of confusion, e.g., Kington could include a link to Kingston. Misspellings on disambiguation pages can be listed in a separate section "Common misspellings" or "see also". Links to misspellings should not be added when no other disambiguation takes place, unless they are notable enough to be added inline in the article.


Adding links to non-existent articles ("redlinks") should be done with care. There is no need to brainstorm all occurrences of the page title and create redlinks to articles that are unlikely ever to be written, or if they are, likely to be removed. For example, quite a few names will show up as song titles, but with few exceptions, we usually do not write articles about individual songs, so there is no point in linking to them. If you must add this type of information, be sure to link to at least one existing article (band, album, etc.).

Do include a redlink when another article links to the ambiguous article (a list of links to an article can be obtained using Special:What links here) with none of the disambiguation options in mind.

Page naming

Some topics have a primary topic which editors agree is the primary meaning for the term (Rome, for example). In this case the disambiguation page is named Rome (disambiguation), and the primary topic keeps the topic word or phrase. Ensure that the disambiguation page links not to the primary meaning, but to an unambiguous meaning (Rome, Italy rather than Rome, for example). The ambiguous meaning might redirect to the unambiguous meaning, or vice versa.

In other cases, where there is no such consensus, disambiguation pages are named after the topic itself (Table, for example).

Topic page naming

For creating the specific topic pages, a few options are available. If there's an alternate name or more complete name that is equally clear, that can be used. For example, Java programming language, Titan rocket. Otherwise, a disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses. The word or phrase in parentheses should be one of two things: a generic noun describing what the specific title is an instance of (for example, Mercury (element), Seal (mammal)); or the subject or context to which the term applies (for example, Union (set theory), Inflation (economics)).

Rarely, an adjective describing the title can be used, but in this case it's usually better to rephrase the title to avoid parentheses. If there's a choice between using a short phrase and word with context (for example, "Mathematical analysis" vs. "Analysis (mathematics)", there is no hard rule about which is preferred, and one can often create both, one redirecting to the other.

A special case of using a "context" to disambiguate is when the context is a book or other creative work, such as with articles about fictional characters. However, we don't really want lots of twisty little stubs about fictional characters: check your fiction. If there is a choice between disambiguating with a generic term or with a context, choose whichever is simpler. For example "mythology" rather than "mythological figure". Use the same disambiguating phrase for topics within the same context.

To conform to our normal naming conventions, the phrase in parentheses should be treated just as any other word in a title: normally lowercase, unless it is a proper noun that always appears capitalized even in running text (such as a book title).

For more on which word or phrase to insert in the parentheses, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions and Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions.

Fixing links to disambiguated topics

A code of honor for creating disambiguation pages is to fix the mis-directed links that will be created when the disambiguation page is made.

Before creating a disambiguation page, click on "What links here" to find all the pages that link to the page you are about to change. Make sure those pages are fixed or that they won't be adversely affected before you do the split.

Rather than doing this manually, there is a tool to facilitate this in the Python Wikipedia Robot, occasionally run by e.g. User:Robbot. The bot offers to update links to choices listed on the disambiguation page. Bots are one of the reasons for limited number of links in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (disambiguation pages).

When repairing a link, for example when renaming Topic Name to Topic Name (some qualifier), you can use empty pipe syntax so that the link does not contain the new qualifier. For example, [[Topic Name (some qualifier)|]] will render as Topic Name just like the original. This is easier to edit and maintain than the more wordy [[Topic Name (some qualifier)|Topic Name]].

Links to disambiguation pages

There is rarely any need for links directly to disambiguation pages—except from the primary topic, if any—in most cases links should point to the article that deals with the specific meaning intended, and not to a disambiguation page. Before making a page into a disambiguation page one should first look at each page that links to it (using the "pages that link here" feature of the software) and correct the links as appropriate. Of course, the whole point of making a disambiguation page is so that accidental links made to it will make sense, so it's not a major problem if there are still links to it.

The Wikipedia software has a feature that lists "orphan" pages; that is, pages that no other page links to. But for disambiguating pages, that's perfectly correct: we usually want pages to link to the more specific pages.

So, in order to make the orphans list more useful by not cluttering it with intentional orphans, disambiguation pages are linked from either

Special:Whatlinkshere/Template:Disambig (previously "Special:Whatlinkshere/MediaWiki:Disambig") could list all disambiguation pages, but the Wiki software limits the number of results listed to 500 in order to reduce technical strain on the servers. The Category:Disambiguation provides a complete list, but it is also hard on the servers (given that we have over 7,000 of them).

If you create a disambiguation page, put a link to it in one of those pages as appropriate.

If you must link to a disambiguation page (instead of a specific meaning), link to a redirect to the disambiguation page that includes the text "(disambiguation)", e.g. America (disambiguation). This helps in distinguishing accidental links to the disambiguation page from intentional ones.

Interlanguage links

Pure disambiguation pages should only contain interlanguage links if a similar problem of disambiguation exists in the target language; that is, they should not point to a single meaning from the list of meanings but to another disambiguation page.

Double disambiguation

A disambiguation of a disambiguation is a disambiguation that is linked from another disambiguation. This kind of disambiguation is typically more specific than one with a simplified name. These kind of disambiguations are relatively rare on Wikipedia.

See also

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