R

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raccoon

race

Mention a person’s race, colour or ethnic or religious affiliation only if it is relevant to the story. If race is relevant, black, white and of mixed race are acceptable adjectives. Avoid words like African, Asian or European unless an individual’s nationality is not known. Use the term coloured only for South Africans of mixed race. Do not use Negro as an indicator of racial origin unless making a special historical or similar point.

rack, wrack

Use wrack only for seaweed and in the phrase wrack and ruin. Otherwise use rack, e.g. racked with pain.

racket

Not racquet.

radical

Avoid this word in a political context.


Ramadan

The month of fasting when devout Muslims refrain from all food, drink or sex during daylight hours and focus on devotion and good works. The majority Sunnis fast between dawn and sunset, the Shia from dawn to dusk. The start and end of the month for most Islamic countries depends on the sighting of the new moon by the naked eye. It is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic, lunar calendar. Eid al-Fitr is the holiday celebrated at the end of Ramadan.

ranges

$22 million to $26 million, not $22 to $26 million.


rape victims

In many countries it is illegal to report the names of victims of sexual crime. Standardise globally to say we do NOT name victims.


rapt, wrapped

Rapt is entranced or wholly engrossed, wrapped is folded together or enfolded.

rarefied

ravage, ravish

Ravage is to lay waste or pillage. Ravish is to abduct or to rape. You ravage a village and ravish a maiden.

razed to the ground

Tautologous. Razed will do.

re-

If the second element of a word beginning with re- starts with an e, hyphenate, e.g. re-employ, re-elected.

reassure

Use this word with caution. It means to give a new assurance. It does not mean (e.g. Hitler reassured Czechoslovakia that he had no designs on its territory) that the person to whom the assurance is given is necessarily reassured. Better to write again assured.

rebut, refute

Use with care. Refute means to disprove, not to deny or reject. Rebut has a similar meaning, not just to argue against, so its use implies an editorial judgment. Avoid, except in quotes, unless we are really sure we are using them correctly. Deny or reject may be preferred.

recession

A period of low economic activity with high unemployment and numerous business failures. There are varying definitions. In the United States it is two consecutive quarterly falls in gross domestic product.

reckless

Not wreckless.

reconnaissance

record

By definition any record just set is new, so do not write a new world record.

recur, recurring, recurred

Red Cross

The Red Cross movement comprises: the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (formerly the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies); and more than 160 national societies around the world. Both the ICRC (founded in 1863 and still almost exclusively composed of Swiss citizens) and the federation (1919) are based in Geneva. The ICRC helps victims of war and internal conflicts. The federation, which groups the 160-plus national societies, brings relief to victims of natural disasters and helps care for refugees outside areas of conflict. The ICRC’s work in protecting wounded and sick servicemen, prisoners of war and civilians in times of armed conflict is based on international humanitarian law enshrined in the four Geneva conventions of 1949 and two protocols signed in 1977. Give the ICRC title in full at first reference; do not abbreviate to the 'International Red Cross’ since such a body does not exist. For the sake of brevity in a lead paragraph you can refer to a Red Cross official or spokesman as long as you make clear lower in the story which organisation he belongs to.


re-elect, re-election

refer

Refer means to mention directly. Allude means to refer to in passing without making an explicit mention. He alluded to the sins of his past and referred to his criminal record.

referendum, referendums

refute

Use with care. Refute means to disprove, not to deny or reject. Rebut has a similar meaning, not just to argue against, so its use implies an editorial judgment. Avoid, except in quotes, unless we are really sure we are using them correctly. Deny or reject may be preferred.

regime

A word with negative overtones in a political context. Use government.

register office, not registry office.

reins, reigns

Reins control a horse. A monarch reigns.

reiterate again

A tautology. Just reiterate will do.

relatively

Do not use unless in a comparison. Do not write He is relatively young. Compared to whom? He is younger than the rest of the team.


religion, religious titles

Religion: Names of divinities are capitalised but unspecific plurals are lower case, e.g. Allah, the Almighty, Christ, God, Jehovah, the Deity, the Holy Trinity, but the gods, the lords of the universe. Capitalise religious titles when they immediately precede a personal name, otherwise use lower case, e.g. Bishop Thaddeus Smith, Dean Robert Jones, but the bishop, the dean. Use only the simplest and best-known titles at first reference, e.g. the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr John Smith rather than the Right Rev. John Smith. Capitalise names of denominations and religious movements, e.g. Baptist, Buddhist, Christian, Church of England, Islamic, Jew, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox. But non-denominational references are lower case, e.g. adult baptism, orthodox beliefs, built a temple. The Pope is head of the Roman Catholic Church or of the Church (that is, the whole body of Roman Catholics) but he would celebrate mass in a Roman Catholic church (that is, a building). A baptist is someone who baptises. A Baptist is a member of the Protestant denomination. With more than 20 separate Baptist church groups in the United States, it is incorrect to refer to the Baptist Church as a singular entity. The correct reference would be to Baptist Churches or to the specific Baptist group involved, e.g. the Southern Baptist Convention.


religious terms

abaya

Full-body overgarment worn by some Muslim women to cover all but their face, feet and hands. Most frequent in Arab countries.

adhan

The Muslim call to prayer

Anglican Communion

The worldwide association of Anglican and Episcopal churches. Not the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

basilica

A major church with special status, not necessarily a cathedral, which is the church of a bishop.

burqa

A one-piece head-to-toe covering for Muslim women, with a headband to hold it in place and a cloth mesh to cover the face but allow vision. Most frequent in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Some European languages use burqa for other kinds of covering, but avoid this usage.

cardinal

Honorary title for Catholic clerics who elect the next pope if they are under 80. Most but not all are archbishops. New cardinals are made at a consistory.

cathedral

Central church of a diocese and seat of the bishop. Not a generic term for any large church.

chador

Full-length cloak for Muslim women that covers the head and body but leaves the face visible. Worn over a loose-fitting blouse and pants, it is open in front and held together by the wearer. Usually worn in Iran, mostly in black.

Christian

Use as an overall term, but not as a substitute for a precise name of a denomination. If possible, it is perferable to name the denomination, e.g. Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, etc. Protestant and Orthodox are also overall terms and more precision, for example Methodist or Greek Orthodox, is preferable.

church, Church

A church is a house of prayer or a denomination. Capitalise when used in a title. In a story about a single church, “the Church” can be used to refer to the whole denomination on second reference and “Church” can be used as an adjective to mean belonging to that church.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Mormon church. “Mormon church” acceptable on first reference, but give the official title soon afterward.

cult

Refers to a faith group far from the religious mainstream, implying a charismatic leader and possibly extreme views. Use very carefully.

denomination

Term for the different Christian churches, usually used for Protestant churches. Catholics and Orthodox object to being called denominations.

Eastern Catholic churches

Eastern Rite churches, the ancient Middle Eastern churches in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

ecumenism

Cooperation among Christian churches. “Inter-faith” refers to cooperation among religions.

Episcopal Church, Episcopal, Episcopalian

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of Anglicanism. “Episcopal” is the adjective referring to it and Episcopalian is the noun referring to its members. Do not refer to its members as “Episcopals”. This is one of the most frequent mistakes made on the religion file.

evangelical

A term for Protestants who stress personal conversion (“born again”) and the authority of the Bible. Evangelicals embrace modern culture, even if they are socially conservative, while fundamentalists try to avoid what they see as sinful modern ways. Evangelicals are found in several churches. Note in Europe, especially Germany, evangelical is a general term for mainstream Protestant. Uppercase only when in a title.

evangelism, evangelising

A neutral term for spreading the Gospel. Proselytise has negative connotations.

evangelist

Originally, one of the four authors of the Gospels. Also, a preacher whose sermons aim to convert listeners to Christianity. If a cleric heads a church of already converted Christians, call him or her a preacher, not an evangelist.

Father

For Catholic priests, only use if in a quote. Rev. is the proper title for a priest.

fundamentalist

Originally refers to Protestants who stress the fundamentals of their faith and reject liberal interpretations. Often used for conservatives, especially for Muslims, but so overused that it is best avoided. Alternatives are traditionalist, orthodox, conservative, etc.

Haj

Capitalise. A Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca

headscarf

General term for Muslim women’s head covering, either the hijab (covering just the hair) or the niqab (covering the face but leaving the eyes open).

hijab

Muslim headscarf for women to cover the hair but leave the face open. Some styles also cover the neck and shoulders.

Mass

The central service of Catholic worship. It is celebrated or said

minister

Term for a cleric in many Protestant denominations. It is not a title and should not be capitalised.

Monsignor

An honorary Roman Catholic title that is better avoided because it has two meanings. In Romance languages, it tends to be a general honorific for all prelates, up to cardinal. In some other languages, it is used as a rank between priest and bishop. Use the cleric’s actual title (e.g. bishop, archbishop, cardinal) or Rev. if he is below episcopal rank.

new religious movement

Neutral term to describe a faith group outside the religious mainstream.

niqab

Muslim woman’s full head and face covering that leaves only the eyes open..

Orthodox, orthodox

Capitalise in titles such as Orthodox Church or Orthodox Judaism. Lower case to denote strict adherence to the doctrines of a religion.

pontiff

A synonym for the pope, always lower case.

Pope, pope

Upper case for the title, e.g. Pope Benedict, but lower case for the term “the pope.”

proselytise

To seek converts to a faith. Some Christian denominations say it has a negative connotation, implying the use of aggressive or unethical methods such as threats or rewards, and prefer “evangelise” as a more neutral term.

Roman Catholic Church

Official title, although Catholic Church can also be used.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church is the pope. Refer to a reigning pope at first reference as e.g. Pope Benedict and at subsequent references as the pope or the pontiff. A reigning pope does not take Roman numerals after his name in Reuters copy unless to omit them would cause confusion. Past Church leaders should take Roman numerals after their name on first reference e.g. Pope Pius XII and may be referred to simply by their name e.g. Pius, on subsequent references unless to omit the numerals would cause confusion. The pope’s closest advisers are known as cardinals, who are appointed by him. Those under 80 can enter a conclave to elect a new pope. At first reference Cardinal John Doe. At subsequent references the cardinal or Doe. A high-ranking member of the Church, such as a cardinal, an archbishop or a bishop, can be referred to subsequently as a prelate. It’s best to avoid the term monsignor since it means a rank between priest and bishop (e.g. Monsignor Martin Smith) in some countries but in others, especially Italy, France and Spain and in Latin America, it is a catchall title used for monsignors, bishops, archbishops and cardinals, e.g. the Archbishop of Bogota, Monsignor Enrique Perez. Avoid this usage also. Use Boston Archbishop Charles Dust. For priests, use Rev. John Doe, not Father John Doe (except in quotes). Do not use the Rev., Reverend or Most Reverend. The Church hierarchy is: priest, pastor, pastor, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, pope. The Church government working in the Vatican is known as the Curia, which must be explained if used. The Vatican technically refers to the city-state in Rome and the Holy See to the Church’s central administration, but the terms have become interchangeable in common use. The Holy See’s ambassadors around the world are known as papal nuncios and its embassies as nunciatures. If the Holy See does not have formal diplomatic relations with a country the Pope’s envoy to the church in that country is an apostolic delegate.

sect

A religious group that has broken off from a larger one. Use carefully as it has negative connotations. The neutral term is new religious movement.

skullcap

Preferred generic term for small religious headpiece known as the Jewish kippa, Catholic zucchetto or Musilm kufi. Avoid yarmulke, which is a Yiddish term used mostly in the United States.

temple

A non-Christian house of prayer. Some Jews use it for synagogue, but the latter is preferred.

Virgin Mary

Use this title or the Madonna, not Our Lady except in titles such as Our Lady of Czestochowa or in the names of churches. In Catholicism, do not confuse the Virgin Birth (the dogma that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus) with the Immaculate Conception (the dogma that Mary was the only human conceived without Original Sin).

yarmulke

Use skullcap.

reluctant, reticent

Reluctant is unwilling or resisting. Reticent is sparing in communication. A gossip is reluctant to be reticent.

remain

Avoid in leads. There is always a more lively way of phrasing.


remainder

Use the rest.

rendezvous

Singular and plural. Prefer meeting or appointment.

repeat, repetition

The noun is repetition, the verb is repeat. John Smith tried to avoid a repetition of his blunder, not a repeat of his blunder. Repeat again is tautologous unless something is being said or done more than twice. Just repeat will do.

repechage

In sport, a contest between runners-up, usually for a place in the final (especially in rowing).

repellent

replica

An exact reproduction, in size and materials. Do not confuse with model.

reported, reportedly

If you use the word reported without stating the source at once, you must give it in the next sentence or paragraph. Do not use reportedly.

reports

Do not refer to just to reports, unconfirmed or otherwise. Specify where the reports are coming from or originate.

requirements

needs is shorter and better.

resistible, irresistible

responsible

Only people are responsible for the effects of their actions. Things cause things to happen. Drought caused famine, not was responsible for famine.

restaurateur

One who runs a restaurant.

result in

Use a stronger, more direct verb, such as cause.

Reuters name

Reuters is used as the title of the company, e.g. Reuters Limited and Reuters Holdings Plc and also as an adjective, e.g. a Reuters correspondent.

If we need to describe the company in copy we should write Reuters, the international news and information organisation. We should refer to Reuters news agency only if this is made necessary by the context of the story, e.g. one mentioning the activities of AP, AFP and Reuters in covering a war. Company style permits use of an apostrophe only in connection with the name of its founder, e.g. Reuter’s birthplace in Kassel ... Where failure to use an apostrophe in the company’s name would clearly conflict with grammatical usage, write round the problem, e.g. The decision by Reuters to ... rather than Reuters decision to ... Editorial policy is to use Reuters for all references to the company in the text of stories.

reveal

Use with caution. Use of the word implies (a) acceptance that the statement is true and (b) that the information had previously been kept secret, which may not be the case.

revenue

Not revenues.

Reverend

Capitalise religious titles when they immediately precede a personal name, otherwise use lower case, e.g. Bishop Thaddeus Smith, Dean Robert Jones, but the bishop, the dean. Use only the simplest and best-known titles at first reference, e.g. the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr John Smith rather than the Right Rev. John Smith.

revert back

Just revert will do.

rhinoceros, rhinoceroses

Richter scale

See earthquakes.

rifle, riffle

Rifle is a weapon, or to plunder or ransack. Riffle is to stir lightly and rapidly.

right wing

A right-winger, a right-wing politician, but the right wing of the political spectrum. Use with caution, as with all political labels.

rigmarole

rock’n’roll

rocks

Americans throw rocks, but in most other places use throw stones.

Rolls-Royce

Note hyphen.

Roman Catholic Church

The head of the Roman Catholic Church is the Pope. Refer to a reigning Pope at first reference as e.g. Pope Benedict and at subsequent references as the pope or the pontiff. A reigning Pope does not take Roman numerals after his name unless to omit them would cause confusion. Past Church leaders should take Roman numerals after their name on first reference e.g. Pope Pius XII and may be referred to simply by their name e.g. Pius, on subsequent references unless to omit the numerals would cause confusion.

The Pope’s appoints cardinals, his closest advisers. Those under 80 can enter a conclave to elect a new Pope. At first reference Cardinal John Doe. At subsequent references the cardinal or Doe. A high-ranking member of the Church, such as a cardinal, an archbishop or a bishop, can be referred to subsequently as a prelate. Monsignor is someone who has a rank between priest and bishop, e.g. Monsignor Martin Smith. In some countries, such as Italy, France and Spain and in Latin America, monsignor is a catchall title used for monsignors, bishops, archbishops and cardinals, e.g. the Archbishop of Bogota, Monsignor Enrique Perez. Avoid this usage. Use Boston Archbishop Charles Dust. For priests, use Father John Doe. Do not use the Rev., Reverend or Most Reverend. The Church hierarchy is: priest, monsignor, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, Pope. The Church government working in the Vatican is known as the Curia. Avoid using it as it needs to be explained. The Vatican technically refers to the city-state in Rome and the Holy See to the Church’s central administration, but the terms have become interchangeable in common use. The Holy See’s ambassadors around the world are known as papal nuncios and its embassies as nunciatures. If the Holy See does not have formal diplomatic relations with a country the Pope’s envoy to the church in that country is an apostolic delegate.

Romania

Roman Numerals

Roman Numeral to Decimal Conversion Table
I 1 XXI 21 XLI 41 LXI 61 LXXXI 81
II 2 XXII 22 XLII 42 LXII 62 LXXXII 82
III 3 XXIII 23 XLIII 43 LXIII 63 LXXXIII 83
IV 4 XXIV 24 XLIV 44 LXIV 64 LXXXIV 84
V 5 XXV 25 XLV 45 LXV 65 LXXXV 85
VI 6 XXVI 26 XLVI 46 LXVI 66 LXXXVI 86
VII 7 XXVII 27 XLVII 47 LXVII 67 LXXXVII 87
VIII 8 XXVIII 28 XLVIII 48 LXVIII 68 LXXXVIII 88
IX 9 XXIX 29 XLIX 49 LXIX 69 LXXXIX 89
X 10 XXX 30 L 50 LXX 70 XC 90
XI 11 XXXI 31 LI 51 LXXI 71 XCI 91
XII 12 XXXII 32 LII 52 LXXII 72 XCII 92
XIII 13 XXXIII 33 LIII 53 LXXIII 73 XCIII 93
XIV 14 XXXIV 34 LIV 54 LXXIV 74 XCIV 94
XV 15 XXXV 35 LV 55 LXXV 75 XCV 95
XVI 16 XXXVI 36 LVI 56 LXXVI 76 XCVI 96
XVII 17 XXXVII 37 LVII 57 LXXVII 77 XCVII 97
XVIII 18 XXXVIII 38 LVIII 58 LXXVIII 78 XCVIII 98
XIX 19 XXXIX 39 LIX 59 LXXIX 79 XCIX 99
XX 20 XL 40 LX 60 LXXX 80 C 100
D 500
M 1000


roofs

roro

roll on/roll off vehicle ferry.

Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish New Year festival.

round up, roundup

Two words for the verb and one word for the noun.

round robin

Not a newsletter or circular, but a petition where the signatures are in a circle so no individual can be identified as the instigator.

rounding figures

Round off unwieldy figures, e.g. Japan produced 1.45 million cars in the six months ended ... not Japan produced 1,453,123 cars ... As a rule round off millions to the nearest 10,000, thousands to the nearest 100, hundreds to the nearest 10. Figures are normally rounded to two significant decimals, with halves rounded upwards. Thus 15.564 becomes 15.56, while 15.565 becomes 15.57. Do not round interest rates. Give them to the full number of decimal places supplied by the source of the information. Round foreign exchange quotations to four decimal places, e.g. the dollar rose to 0.9784 euros. If a country adjusts its currency, any rate given must not be rounded off, e.g. Manchukistan announced a rate of 5.79831 manchuks to the dollar. Do not round company dividends, e.g. the company announced a dividend of 0.123456 pence per share. Where totals do not add up because of rounding, this should be explained.

row

Do not use for argument or dispute.

royalty

Retain the titles of rulers and their consorts at second reference, e.g. King Hussein, Queen Beatrix, the queen. The titles of other members of royal families can be dropped at second reference. In Britain, for instance, Queen Elizabeth’s husband is the Duke of Edinburgh, and at second reference the duke or Prince Philip. Her eldest son is Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. Either title can be used at first reference; then Charles or the prince. Use Roman numerals in referring to royalty, e.g. Charles I, Louis XIV not Charles 1st or Charles the First.

rubber stamp, rubber-stamp

Two words as a noun, hyphenated as a verb or adjective

rule

A word with negative overtones in a political context. Use govern as a verb.

rundown, run down

Rundown is the noun (but prefer review or summary). The verb is run down and the adjective is run-down.

runner-up, runners-up

rush hour, rush-hour

Two words for the noun, hyphenated for the adjective.

rushed to hospital

A cliché. Use taken to hospital or treated in hospital.

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