Bicapitalization, From DreamWorks to YouTube

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YouTube is an example of bicapitalization. YouTube Logo

Bicapitalization (or BiCapitalization) is the use of a capital letter in the middle of a word or name—usually a brand name or a company name, such as iPod and ExxonMobil


In compound names, when two words are joined without spaces, the first letter of the second word is usually the one that's capitalized, as in DreamWorks.

Among the numerous synonyms for bicapitalization (sometimes shortened to bicaps) are CamelCase, embedded caps, InterCaps (short for internal capitalization), medial capitals, and midcaps.

 

Examples and Observations

  • "[A] distinctive feature of Internet graphology is the way two capitals are used—one initial, one medial--a phenomenon variously called bicapitalization (BiCaps), intercaps, incaps, and midcaps. Some style guides inveigh against this practice, but it is widespread:
    AltaVista, RetrievalWare, ScienceDirect, ThomsonDirect, NorthernLight, PostScript, PowerBook, DreamWorks, GeoCities, EarthLink, PeaceNet, SportsZone, HotWired, CompuServe, AskJeeves
    More complex examples include QuarkXPress and aRMadillo Online. Some of the new names cause difficulty, in that long-standing orthographic conventions are contravened: for example, sentences can begin with small letters, as in eBay is interested or iMac is the answer, a problem that faces anyone who wants to start a sentence with a lower-case username or program command."
    (David Crystal, Language and the Internet, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2006)
  • Wired Style Guide to Using InterCaps
    "Follow the usage preferred by the name's owner. For example:
    1. Follow company and product usage. If RealNetworks, Inc., spells one of its products RealPlayer, then that is the spelling you should use.
    2. Respect the preferred spelling of online names and handles. If an Internet user wishes to be known as WasatchSkier, then that is how you should spell it.
    In cases where the name begins with a lower-case letter, such as eWorld, try to avoid beginning a sentence with that name. If that's not possible, however, then use the correct form even if it means beginning a sentence with a lower-case letter: eWorld finally bites the dust."
    (Constance Hale, Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age. Publishers Group West, 1997)

     
  • The Lighter Side of BiCapitalization
    "For the compound, overcapitalized corporate name, I propose CorpoNym, which combines the corpo- of corporation with the combining form -(o)nym, from the Greek onoma, name. (To the word mavencorpo- also slyly suggests another combining form, copro-, which means feces, dung.) For the trend of naming or renaming companies in this ostentatious way, I have two proposals: upsizing and CapitalPains."
    (Charles Harrington Elster, What in the Word?: Wordplay, Word Lore, and Answers to the Peskiest Questions About Language. Harcourt, 2005)

 

Alternate Spellings: bicapitalisation