Use of Terms A-Z

Military Community and Family Policy writing guidance aligns with The Associated Press Stylebook with a few exceptions. Definitions of military-specific terms appear below, along with editorial guidance for certain commonly used words for MC&FP and our programs. See additional writing guidance in the Writing Best Practices section. Find program-specific guidance in the Program Content Guides section.


improvised explosive device – An IED is a homemade device incorporating destructive, lethal noxious, pyrotechnic or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass or distract. It may incorporate military materials, but is normally devised from nonmilitary components. The term is applied to a variety of explosive devices, such as bombs and mines. The term IED is acceptable in subsequent references, but only if the available facts are detailed enough to allow avoiding use of the jargon term entirely; opt for the homemade bomb, roadside bomb or the appropriate plain-English term.

Inauguration Day – Capitalize only when referring to the total collection of events that include the inauguration of a U.S. president. Lowercase in all other uses: Inauguration Day is Jan. 20. The inauguration day for the change has not been set.

infant – Use for children through 12 months old.

internet – Lowercase. Note: The web is a subset of the internet and the terms are not interchangeable.