Wikipedia:Naming conventions

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This page is an official policy on Wikipedia. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. Feel free to update the page as needed, but make sure that changes you make to this policy really do reflect consensus, before you make them.


Naming conventions is a list of guidelines on how to appropriately create and name pages.

It is important to note that these are conventions, not rules written in stone. As Wikipedia grows and changes, some conventions that once made sense may become outdated, and there may be cases where a particular convention is "obviously" inappropriate. But when in doubt, follow convention.

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Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

In addition to following the naming conventions it is also important to follow the linking conventions. Following consistent conventions in both naming and linking makes it more likely that links will lead to the right place.

If you wish to propose a new naming convention, do so on Wikipedia Talk:Naming conventions, whilst also publicising the proposal at Requests for comment and the Village Pump, as well as at any related pages. Once a strong consensus has formed, it can be adopted as a naming convention and listed below.


General conventions

Lowercase second and subsequent words

Convention: Do not capitalize second and subsequent words unless the title is a proper noun (such as a name) or is otherwise almost always capitalized (for example: John Wayne, but not Computer Game).

Due to technical limitations inherent to the MediaWiki software, the first letter in an article title always needs to be a capital letter. Ordinarily this isn't a problem, but it poses an issue when a proper noun's first letter is lowercase (for example, eBay). The first letter of an internal wikilink need not be capitalized and will direct the reader to the same page (for example, computer game or Computer game can be used interchangeably as needed).

Rationale and specifics: See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization) and Wikipedia:Canonicalization.

Prefer singular nouns

The word "always" appearing below is controversial; see Wikipedia_talk:Naming_conventions#SOME_article_titles_should_be_plural.

Convention: In general only create page titles that are in the singular, unless that noun is always in a plural form in English (such as scissors or trousers). Category names follow different pluralization conventions, see Wikipedia:Categorization#General naming conventions.

Rationale and specifics: See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals)

Redirect adjectives to nouns

Convention: Adjectives (such as democratic) should redirect to nouns (in this case, democracy).

Rationale and specifics: See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (adjectives)

Use gerund of verbs

Convention: Use the gerund of verbs (the -ing form in English) unless there is a more common form for a certain verb.

Rationale and specifics: See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (verbs)

Use English words

Convention: Name your pages in English and place the native transliteration on the first line of the article unless the native form is more commonly used in English than the English form.

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English)

Use common names of persons and things

Convention: Use the most common name of a person or thing that does not conflict with the names of other people or things.

Rationale and specifics: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names)

Be precise when necessary

Convention: Please, do not write or put an article on a page with an ambiguously named title as though that title had no other meanings.

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (precision) and Wikipedia:Disambiguation

Prefer spelled-out phrases to acronyms

Convention: Avoid the use of acronyms in page naming unless the term you are naming is almost exclusively known only by its acronym and is widely known and used in that form (laser, radar, and scuba are good examples).

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (acronyms)

Avoid the definite article ("the") and the indefinite article ("a"/"an") at the beginning of the page name

Convention: If the definite or indefinite article article would be capitalized in running text, then include it at the beginning of the page name. This would be the case for the title of a work such as a novel. Otherwise, do not include it at the beginning of the page name.

Examples: The Hague, The Old Man and the Sea but: Netherlands.

Rationale, specifics and exceptions: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (definite and indefinite articles at beginning of name)

Do not use an article name that suggests a hierarchy of articles

Since Transportation in Azerbaijan could just as well be considered a subdivision of Transport as of Azerbaijan, do not use a name like Azerbaijan/Transportation (the old Wikipedia software created a subpage when the article name contained a forward slash; this feature is discontinued for articles, but you may use it on user and talk pages).

Be careful with special characters

Some special characters either cannot be used or may cause problems. For example you should not use a piping character (|), a plus sign (+), curly braces ({}), or square braces ([]) in a name.

Titles must not begin with an interlanguage link code followed by a colon. For example a page with the title FR:example will produce a "bad title" error. The same also applies to interwiki links.

For foreign names with accent marks, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English).

See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (technical restrictions).

Other specific conventions

Aircraft names

Aircraft names are too varied to give full guidelines here; see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (aircraft).


see Wikipedia:WikiProject Airports/naming conventions

Animals, plants, and other organisms

The capitalization on the common names of species has been hotly debated in the past and remains unresolved. As a matter of truce both capitalized and non-capitalized (except for proper names) are acceptable, but a redirect should be created from the alternative form. Scientific names are always written in italics. The first name (genus) is capitalized, the second (species) is not. Examples: Homo sapiens, Tyrannosaurus rex, Velociraptor.
See: Wikipedia:WikiProject_Tree_of_Life#Article_titles_and_common_names
See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (fauna)
See: Capitalization


Radio and television stations in North America should always be titled with their C---, W---, K--- or X---- call sign, with the suffix -TV, -FM or (AM) when necessary. Alternate brand names such as "Fox 25", "The Edge", "Q107" or "Jack FM" are very rarely unique, and "Jack FM Toronto" or "Q107 Memphis" are not appropriate article titles. A brand name may, however, be created as a redirect or a disambiguation page where appropriate.

Where a single broadcast outlet operates several transmitters with different call signs, create the article at the call sign which is considered the primary transmitter by the FCC or the CRTC, and make the other call signs redirects to that call sign. Where a station has changed call signs, please put the station's entire history in its current call sign, as the old call signs may subsequently be reassigned to new stations.

Due to different practices worldwide, broadcast stations in other countries may not have a similar call sign. Those article titles should instead be chosen to reduce the possibility for confusion and title duplication as much as possible.


See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (categories).


See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese)

City names

Convention: In general, there are no special naming conventions for cities, unless multiple cities with the same name exist.

Discussion, rationale, and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (city names)


See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (comics)


Use this form: political division, date. For example, Canadian federal election, 1867. For future elections of uncertain date one can use either the 39th Canadian federal election format or the United Kingdom general election, 2009/10 format.

Film titles

Convention: Films often share the same name as other films, books or terms. When disambiguating a film from something else use "(film)" in the title when only one film had that name and (YEAR film) in the title when there are two or more films by that name (example: Titanic (1997 film)).

Rationale and specifics: see: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (films)

Historical names and titles

Convention: In general, use the most common form of the name used in English (not necessarily the name translated into English) and disambiguate the names of monarchs of modern countries in the format [[{Monarch's first name and ordinal} of {Country}]] (example: Edward I of England).

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles) and Wikipedia:History standards

Ireland and Irish names


Convention: Isotopes should begin with the capitalized element name, folowed by a hyphen (not —) and then the mass number. For example, Helium-10, or Uranium-235.


See: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles)


See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Korean)

Languages, both spoken and programming

Convention: Languages which share their names with some other thing should be suffixed with "programming language" in the case of programming languages, or "language" in the case of spoken languages. If the language's name is unique, there is no need for any suffix. For example, Python programming language and English language, but VBScript and Esperanto.

Language families and groups of languages are pluralized. Thus, Niger-Congo languages rather than 'Niger-Congo language', and Sino-Tibetan languages rather than 'Sino-Tibetan language'.

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (languages)

Legislation in the United Kingdom

Acts should be titled with the short name form and then the year, without any comma between them (i.e., [[Foo Bar Act 1234]]). There should be a redirect from [[Foo Bar Act]] if the Act is uniquely named.

If several Acts have the same short name, [[Foo Bar Act]] should either redirect to the most commonly-used Act of the series if one does (e.g., the Data Protection Acts), or if not either serve as a disambiguation page (e.g., Representation of the People Acts) or redirect to [[Foo Bar Acts]] (plural) which would serve as an article about the series of Acts.

If two Acts are passed with the same name and year in two parliaments as different enactments of the same piece of legislation, have just one article (e.g. the Act of Union 1707); if the two Acts are different pieces of legislation, use paranethetical disambiguation based on jurisdiction or entity (e.g., the European Communities Act 1972 in the UK and RoI being at [[European Communities Act 1972 (UK)]] and [[European Communities Act 1972 (Ireland)]]).


Convention: Put a list of Xs as list of Xs, rather than Xs, famous Xs, listing of important Xs, list of noted Xs, list of all Xs, etc. See wikipedia:list. Consider making a category instead of a list: categories are easier to maintain (but less flexible).

Literary works

Suggested convention: Use the title of the work as the article's title, following all applicable general conventions. To disambiguate, add the type of literary work in parentheses, such as "(novel)", "(novella)", "(short story)", etc. You may use "(book)" to disambiguate a non-fiction book. If further disambiguation is needed, add the author's surname in parentheses: "(Orwell novel)", "(Asimov short story)", etc.


See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Mormonism)


Pieces of music

Convention: Name the article in its most common form, adding the composer's surname in parentheses after it if more than one piece has that title. For example, War Requiem, Violin Concerto (Berg), Symphony No. 6 (Mahler). See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (pieces of music)

Album titles and band names

Convention: In titles of songs or albums, unless it is unique, the standard rule in the English language is to capitalize words that are the first word in the title and those that are not conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for), prepositions (to, over, through) or articles (an, a, the, that). When necessary, disambiguation should be done using (band), (album), or (song) (such as Iron Maiden (band) or Insomniac (album)); use further disambiguation only when needed (for example X (U.S. band), X (Australian band)). Unless multiple albums of the same name exist (such as Down to Earth), they do not need to be disambiguated any further. For example, Down to Earth (Ozzy Osbourne album) is fine, but Insomniac (Green Day album) is unnecessary. When a track is not strictly a song (in other words a composition without lyrics, or an instrumental that is not a cover of a song), disambiguation should be done using (composition) or (instrumental).


Articles about numbers and related meanings are at N (number), for example 142 (number), not One hundred forty-two nor One hundred and forty-two nor Number 142. 142 is for the year (see below). See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).

Organizations (such as political parties)

Convention: For articles on organizations (like political parties) the general rule applies. That means: Name your pages with the English translation and place the original native name on the first line of the article unless the native form is more commonly used in English than the English form. Examples of the last are names of organizations in India, Ireland, Israel, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Quebec, Sri Lanka (English is or was an official language in most of these countries, which led to the general use of the native name) as well as some in Spain (Batasuna), Indonesia (Golkar), Iran (Mujahedden al-Khalq), Russia (Yabloko and Rodina), Republic of China (Taiwan) (Kuo Min Tang) and Cambodia (Khmer Rouge).

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English)


Wikipedia:Naming conventions (people) starts from the idea that names in the format <First name> <Last name> are usually the least problematic as page name for an article on a single person.

The guideline concentrates on these cases where this format is not the most obvious, for example, how to deal with middle names, with Iberian naming customs, with disambiguation (when several people share the same name), etc...

The people NC guideline has absorbed some content previously in Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) (e.g. abbreviations in names of people), or separate topics on this page, that were not mentioned in specific guidelines until now (e.g. Spanish family names).

Russian names

Many Russian names have a conventional English spelling. For others, use Wikipedia's modified BGN/PCGN transliteration, documented at Transliteration of Russian into English

Ship names

Convention: Articles about ships that have standard prefixes should include them in the article title; for example, HMS Ark Royal, USS Enterprise. Note that although in text the name but not the prefix is italicized, this is not indicated in the article name, so pipe links are used, for example for the above [[HMS Ark Royal|HMS ''Ark Royal'']], [[USS Enterprise|USS ''Enterprise'']]. Articles about ships that do not have standard prefixes should be titled as (Nationality) (type) (Name); for example, Soviet aircraft carrier Kuznetsov ([[Soviet aircraft carrier Kuznetsov|Soviet aircraft carrier ''Kuznetsov'']].

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ships)

Slovenian vs Slovene


  • Articles with Slovene in the title should be redirected to main articles using Slovenian. (Exception: Articles about organizations that use Slovene). For the sake of consistency, "Slovenian" in the title demands the same term be used throughout that article. "Slovene" in the title demands the opposite. (Exception: specific material that reasonably requires inconsistent usage.)
  • Naming conventions are not applicable to articles that use "Slovene" or "Slovenian" in the body text only. For these articles, either term is allowable, as long as its usage is consistent. For the sake of consistency, it is preferred that subsequent editors respect the terminology used by the originator of the article.
  • Changes to subsequent material can be made to establish consistency with the originator, but please add a pointer to these guidelines on the talk page of the article to help prevent edit wars. Edits made solely to change one term to the other, overturning the usage of the original contributor and in opposition to reasons given above are discouraged, particularly if continued.

Rationale and specifics: See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Slovenian vs Slovene)

Stub templates and categories

see details in Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Naming guidelines.

In general, stub templates use nouns in lower case letters except where proper names are involved. Abbreviations are allowed but only when completely unambiguous (or one of a small set of commonly used abbreviations such as geo, bio, hist for geography, biography and history), and are otherwise discouraged. Hyphens, rather than spaces, are used, though words may be run together if they form part of a compound noun. Thus, for example, {{France-bio-stub}} for French people, but {{FrenchPolynesia-geo-stub}} for the geography of French Polynesia.

Stub categories are also only capitalised for proper nouns, and use noun forms. Thus there is a Cat:Biology stubs, rather than Cat:Biological stubs or Cat:Biology Stubs.

Current exceptions to these rules are in the process of being converted to conform with these conventions.

Ukrainian names

See Romanization of Ukrainian for details of transliteration systems.

  • Most personal names have a conventional English spelling, rendered phonetically. This is usually very close to transcription by the BGN/PCGN system, which is quite intuitive for English speakers to pronounce. Some Ukrainian names have conventional spellings that come from other languages, like Polish, transcription from Russian, transcription into German, etc.
  • For geographic names in Ukraine, the Ukrainian National system is used. For historic reasons, many names are also presented in Russian, Polish, etc.
  • Linguistics topics often use "scholarly", or "scientific transliteration" within the text.

Years: use plain numbers only

Convention: In general the use of number-only page names should only be used for Year in Review entries. So name the article Form 1040, not 1040 (the year Macbeth became King of Scotland), and Intel 80386, not 386 (the year the Northern Wei Dynasty began to rule China). See Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers).

Conventions under consideration

Ancient Romans

Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (ancient Romans)

Arabic names

Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Arabic)


See: Wikipedia:Centralized discussion.


Convention: This convention is in progress; see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (chemistry)

Computer and video games

See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (computer and video games), regarding the disambiguation of video games that share the same name as the game series.

Country-specific topics

Convention: In general, country-specific articles and categories should be named using the form: "(item) of (country)". See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (country-specific topics) and Wikipedia:Category titles


Convention: This convention is in progress; see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (currency)

External links

Should external links of non-html type files (such as doc, pdf, and xls) be in the following format?

Government departments, ministers etc.

Convention: in progress. See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (government departments and ministers)

Hebrew and Israeli names

Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Hebrew)


Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (identity)


Absorbed in "people" NC proposal, see below

Manuscript names

Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:WikiProject Middle Ages/General#Proposal for convention for manuscript names.

Military units

Convention: getting started, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (military units)

New Zealand placenames

New Zealand placenames are written simply as the place name, unless confusion is likely to occur with duplicated names within the country or outside it.

If confusion is likely with places outside New Zealand, then the format "Placename, New Zealand" is used, irrespective of the type of location (for example, Mount Hopkins, New Zealand). Confusion has to be likely, not merely possible: for example, Wellington, the capital, is known all over the world, whereas the other 30 or so places with the same name have fairly local significance only.

If the name is used for more than one type of place, then the type of place is given in parentheses (for example, Lake Tekapo (town)). (This convention is not formalised, but is general usage on NZ articles in Wikipedia).

Ohio school districts

Convention: In progress. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Ohio school districts) for more.

Old Norse and subgroups

Convention: in progress. See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Old Norse, dates and subgroups)

Old Norse/Old Icelandic/Old English names

Convention: Tentative standard agreed upon for names in Old Norse mythology. Old Norse/Icelandic names appear differently in various modern English texts: for example Baldr, Balder, and Baldur; or Aesir and Æsir, or Óðinn, Odin, Ódin, Óthin, and Odhinn. Similarly Old English names appear in variant forms, such as Aelle against Ælle. Please provide input at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Old Norse/Old Icelandic/Old English). Should one default to vanilla US-ASCII forms or to forms (also found in modern English texts) that more closely represent the original spellings with special letters and diacritics?


Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (operas)


Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (places)


Convention: in progress, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (provinces)


Convention: in progress, see: Wikipedia:WikiProject Sexology and Sexuality.

Subnational entities

Convention: in progress, see: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (subnational entities)


Convention: in progress. Page names should use the least number of suffixes possible???

Television series and shows

Convention: in progress. See: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (television)

Years in titles

Convention: In general, there are no special naming conventions for articles on recurring events, such as elections or the Olympics. See: wikipedia:Naming conventions (years in titles)

More issues

There are many other specific issues still being discussed on the talk page.

See also

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