Frequently Asked Questions
What is the correct way to spell 'e' words such as 'email', 'ecommerce', 'egovernment'? Should they be hyphenated or capitalized or neither?
We do not have a policy on e-words, because what we show in our dictionaries depends upon the evidence available to the editors at the time a particular dictionary was prepared. It is the Concise Oxford Dictionary which sets our own house style; unlike the complete Oxford English Dictionary it is frequently revised and so can incorporate linguistic changes and reflect current usage. The edition at the time of writing is the first impression of the 11th edition, which came out in 2004. This shows the e-prefix ('denoting the use of electronic data transfer, especially through the Internet') in lower case (Of course it would have a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence).
The Concise does not have an entry for e-government, but we expect one to appear in this form (compare e-cash, e-commerce). We recommend email, as this is now by far the most common form. If in doubt with other words, hyphenate - this is the most comprehensible form of such words.
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