AP Stylebook: ‘Halftime’ and other ‘half’ words

Updated on Feb. 5, 2017


In honor of the Super Bowl, here are some tips on using the word “halftime” and other terms that begin with “half.”

And yes, “halftime” is one word – no hyphen, as per the Associated Press Stylebook “half-” entry, which states:

“Follow Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Hyphenate if not listed there. Some frequently used words without a hyphen:

  • halfback
  • halftone
  • halfhearted
  • halftrack

Also: halftime, in keeping with widespread practice in sports copy.

Some frequently used combinations that are two words without a hyphen:

  • half brother
  • half size
  • half dollar

Some frequently used combinations that include a hyphen:

  • half-baked
  • half-life
  • half-blood
  • half-moon
  • half-cocked
  • half-truth
  • half-hour”

As you can see, many of the hyphenated words are not only adjectives but also nouns. So, it’s best to look up any words starting with “half” to confirm which ones are hyphenated and which are not.

If your company follows the AP Stylebook and you don’t already have a subscription to the AP Stylebook online, get one, and you’ll never be in doubt. You can get a stylebook subscription that includes the online dictionary mentioned above ($35/year), and that way if the word you’re looking for in the stylebook isn’t there, you can check for it in the dictionary.

It’s easy to quickly check spelling, grammar and punctuation – to ensure consistency in your content – when you have a two-in-one resource like this open in a browser window as you write or edit copy.

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