A compound word is one where two words join together to form a new word, and the new word often has a new definition. “Home page” and “homepage” are examples of how words change over time. In the case of “home page” versus “homepage,” which is the correct spelling?
The Chicago Manual of Style prefers “home page”, as do several dictionaries. Many tech magazines and digital platforms have adopted “homepage” as their preferred spelling and thus it is used more commonly in the industry. Since there is not yet a formal standard for this term, you will need to know your audience and the particular style they are likely to use.
This article will focus on the adaptation of compound words and when you should write “home page” with a space or “homepage” as one word.
Homepage vs. Home Page
The Web is still relatively new to us, and the language around it can tend to vary and change rapidly. Thanks to the digital world, we are constantly adding new words to the dictionary.
These terms are in a constant state of change. Despite the acceptance and adoption of the “homepage” by many major tech companies like Google and Microsoft and programs like Grammarly, leading dictionaries like Merriam-Webster and the Cambridge Dictionary still do not recognize “homepage” as a single word without a space.
The need to develop internet terminology began within the 1960s. Since then, technology has rapidly changed, and so has our need for efficient and time-saving communication. Both “home page” and “homepage” describe a website’s main index page. The difference is in their structure.
Leading Dictionaries List “Home Page”
Although “homepage” has gained momentum, the Merriam-Webster, the Cambridge Dictionary, and Oxford’s Lexico still list the correct spelling as “home page.” Home page” is the spelling appearing first as per online records and remains the primary spelling in traditional printed dictionaries.
The term “home page” made its debut within the 1999 printing of Merriam-Webster’s desk dictionary, Tenth Edition. Later editions accept both spellings of “homepage” and “home page,” with “home page” appearing first.
Academic style guides, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, also tend to favor “home page” (source). You’ll also see those who use MLA Style spell it as “home page” more often (source). Meanwhile, the APA Style website frequently uses “homepage,” while still using “home page” (source).
The Rise of “Homepage”
Initially, the term “homepage” did not exist as a single word. Still, after a rise in usage over the years, it is acceptable to use the two words as one according to some style guides, tech magazines, and social media.
Online dictionaries such as The Collins Dictionary and Netlingo accept the spelling as either ”home page” or “homepage.” “
Google Docs’ spell-checker and grammar guides such as Grammarly consider “homepage” the correct variation of the word, thus signifying the evolution of language through the years.
In 2018, multiple tech guides, such as the AP Stylebook that many journalists use, changed from “home page” to “homepage.”
|The Oxford Dictionary||Home Page|
|The Cambridge Dictionary||Home Page|
|The Chicago Manual of Style||Home Page|
|The Collins Dictionary||Home Page & Homepage|
|Netlingo||Home Page & Homepage|
What Does Home Page Mean?
A home page or is the main landing page a visitor navigating to a website from a search engine will enter. It also serves as the primary interface to attract audiences.
In recent years, many companies have invested money to ensure that their home page visually appeals to visitors, sends out the correct brand message, and is design-optimized to deliver enhanced user experiences.
Because home pages often serve as the landing page, It is essential to most companies that information on their home page is relevant to their products or services by using keywords and phrases (source).
Ultimately, the home page serves as the starting point that sets the tone for and facilitates navigation to other pages on the site. Meanwhile, some websites use the home page to prompt visitors to subscribe to the website or service.
Once the visitor signs in, the home page may redirect them to a personal profile page. In turn, we may refer to this as a “personal home page.”
It is interesting to note that home page file names were once index.html or default.html.
If the website creators did not use a home page for the main page, web servers automatically directed visitors to a list of files located in the website’s root directory. In modern times, these practices are mainly obsolete.
Origin and Usage of Home Page or Homepage
The first recorded use of “home page” is from the early 90s, formed by combining two words, home (meaning a base of operation) and page (from the word webpage).
Language tends to evolve towards increasing efficiency, eventually removing older styles that utilize capitalization, dashes, or spaces. With texting now a significant form of modern communication, there is an even greater trend toward simplification. Over time and with consistent use, one version rises to the top.
Adaptation from Home Page to Homepage
In 1999, many publications, including most online tech magazines, began using “home page.” In recent years, the term “homepage” has become increasingly common. Within the past two years, Tech magazines have switched from “home page” to “homepage.”
Elsewhere, the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, Fourth Edition, (2012) offers the spelling as “homepage” or “home page,” putting the combined spelling within the position of precedence and accepting both spellings as correct.
|Should you wish to receive our newsletter, follow the link on our home page.||Should you wish to receive our newsletter, follow the link on our homepage.|
|Check the box to access this text feature on the home page.||Check the box to access this text feature on the homepage.|
|The company’s home page contained too much information.||The company’s homepage contained too much information.|
Home Page as a Compound Word
The English language has essential components that create successful communication: sounds, words, sentences, structure, etc.
Words are a vital component of any language with many forms, and we form compound words when we join two or more terms together. The new word may or may not have a new meaning.
Compounding (joining separate words) is the most common type of word-formation in English. Compound words have multiple forms, often to prevent ambiguity, such as a space between the words, a hyphen between the words, or simply two root words together with no separation.
The gradual shift is evident, particularly if you compare literature from past generations. Older literature has words we now write as one word. You may find unfamiliar spaces or hyphens between the words, even changes in meaning (source).
Types of Compound Words
According to English grammar rules, the way you write a word does not change its status as a compound. There are three types of compound words. In this section, we will discuss each type and include examples for clarity.
Open compounds have space in between words.
Examples: home page, school bus, dining room.
Closed compounds mesh two words together.
Example: homepage, teapot, keypad, notebook, bookstore.
Hyphenated compounds use a hyphen between words often to prevent ambiguity.
Examples: Sister-in-law, merry-go-round.
Endocentric, Exocentric, and Coordinate Compounds
Aside from the types of compound words, grammarians define the construction of compound words by specific categories. These are endocentric, exocentric, and coordinate constructions.
“Home page” is an endocentric compound. In endocentric compounds, there is a head that determines the meaning and category of the compound word. In the English language, we see the head in the second part of the compound.
|Air + field||A field where airplanes land.|
|Air + hose||A hose that carries air.|
|Air + plane||A conveyance that travels through the air.|
|Bath + towel||A towel someone uses after bathing.|
|Bath + tub||A place in which to bathe.|
|Fire + drill||A practice to prepare for the event of a fire.|
|Fire + truck||A vehicle used to put out fires.|
|Steam + boat||A boat powered by steam.|
With exocentric compounds, the head of the word does not convey the primary meaning of the compound. Instead, the meaning is external to the compound — scarecrow, redhead, pickpocket, showoff, and paperback.
By definition, one must keep in mind that a scarecrow is not a type of crow and a redhead, not a type of head. Instead, a scarecrow is an object that aims to scare all birds, not just crows, and a redhead is a person with red hair.
The third type of compound construction is coordinate compounds. These compounds lend one to think of both words equally sharing head-like characteristics, such as in “student-prince” — both a student and a prince (source).
Three Major Influences on the Evolution of Languages
It is interesting to note how the spelling of the word varies between different countries. For example, Google Trends indicates that Americans (65%) prefer using “homepage” rather than “home page.” However, most individuals in India prefer to use “home page” rather than “homepage.”
Another influence is a cultural and generational shift. People from different geographical areas speak differently, even within a given community. Also, there is variation according to a speaker’s gender, age, ethnicity, and social and educational background.
The last influence is what we call text speak. Text speak has played an increasing role in influencing the traditional English language. While many believe that text speak is, for the most part, negative, it has led to increased abbreviation and the shortening of words for better or for worse.
How the Internet Impacted Language
Changes in culture, technology, and history are major influences on language evolution, particularly in the technological era. More platforms encourage informal forms of communication, such as email, texting, and social media.
With every addition, new words and phrases form, and traditional words receive modifications. Technology sees language becoming informal, easier to type, and straying away from traditional rules and conventions such as hyphens.
It is clear that technology has become a more significant and influential part of the English language.
Over the last few decades, with the invention of the internet, internet terminology is an integral part of the dictionary lexicon. The Oxford English Dictionary updates four times a year. The last update took place in January 2020.
An interesting fact, in the update of October of 2016, there were around 500 new words, including YouTuber and LOL.
Synonyms for Home Page
A synonym is a word with the same meaning but spelled differently. There have been alternative names to refer to “home page” or “homepage through the years.” These include:
- Web page
- Landing page
- Index page
Which Is the Most Common Search Term: Home Page or Homepage?
The world’s usage shows a substantial decline in web users entering “home page” over “homepage” within the last five years. Google Trends shows that searches for homepage reached peak popularity from people worldwide in 2004 (source).
During this time, “home page” search results saw a 44 percent decline around the world. As of March 2021, searches for “homepage” received double the number of searches than “home page.” This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
If you found this article informative, check out our other spelling articles, such as “Hometown or Home Town: Which One Is Correct?“
Some words continue to thrive in internet vocabulary since their appearance. Others have already become obsolete. Some, like “homepage,” are adaptations, indicating the trend toward simplification. However, carefully consider your audience before using ‘’homepage” as not everyone accepts this yet.
Many English lexicographers and scholars are more likely to favor “home page” because of its acceptance by Merriam-Webster, the Cambridge Dictionary, and the Chicago Manual. On the other hand, tech companies like Microsoft and Google are likely to favor “homepage,” as well as journalists that follow the Associated Press style guide.
Ultimately, the spelling of the word is largely dependent on the writer, the audience, and the writing style.