“Website” or “Web site”?

I was recently asked which version of the word was correct: “website,” or “web site.” My answer? In short, neither and both are correct, depending on how you look at it. In Webster’s dictionary, it’s displayed as both versions. And there is even a special note about its usage:

Usage Note: The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email is gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there is an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.

However, in the MLA stylebook, the “web site” version is correct. In my opinion, both terms are correct, but “website” is becoming the most used term, similar to the way “email” has evolved from “electronic mail” into “e-mail” into “email.I personally prefer “website,” and it’s what I generally use. All companies should have a defined standard on the way they and their employees use electronic media terms such as these so that the company maintains consistency across documents.

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2 thoughts on ““Website” or “Web site”?

  1. The Associated Press says “Web site” is correct. While I tend to use that most often, I can see myself using “website” more as it looks better to the eye anyway.

    As for “e-mail”… I prefer the hyphen because it looks better (in my opinion).

    I agree with “homepage” and “online.” “On line” bugs me because what is “line” exactly? “Online” means the WWW, but “line” — what the heck?

    And I’ve only ever used “printout.”

    One reason “website” and “email” are common is because people are lazy with English. Look at the word “alright” — it should be “all right.”

    Look at “a lot” — it should always be “a lot” and not “alot.”

    I agree with your consistency statement. You’re right on with that! I wish there was a global consistency personally!!

    But it’s the English major in me. =)

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