How do you correctly spell the word Wi-Fi, and does it matter? It’s a topic that has been debated for years, not just in the tech industry, but in newsrooms and all facets of print around the world.
If you look up WiFi on Merriam-Webster’s website, it redirects you to the page where it’s spelled Wi-Fi. However, in the browser tab site description section, they use the Wi-fi spelling.
Prefer the Oxford Dictionary? We looked it up there as well. A search of Wifi on their website also redirects you to the page where Wi-Fi is used, and they even went one step further and spelled it the same way (Wi-Fi) in the browser tab.
The Wi-Fi Alliance is another place we can look to for verification on the proper spelling. According to their official website, they have “worked diligently to make Wi-Fi one of the world’s most valued and widely used technologies.” They also use the Wi-Fi spelling everywhere on their site.
Based on all of the above, it’s safe to say that Wi-Fi is the correct spelling, but does it really matter?
With everything moving so quickly these days, most people tend to drop the hyphen and even the capitalization of the W and F when spelling and searching for wifi. In fact, use of the unhyphenated version has become so commonplace that, according to several online sources, the AP Stylebook has listed WiFi as an acceptable spelling of the word (but we don’t have a subscription, so we can’t verify it).
So, it doesn’t matter, right? Not exactly. If you’re using spell check in Microsoft Word, Wi-Fi is the way to go if you want to get rid of the red lines under misspelled words. If you’re in the SEO game, Google Trends points to WiFi as the best option.
In the grand scheme of things, it might be time to just officially drop the hyphen all together. Remember when the AP Stylebook did that with the word email back in 2011 because “language evolves?” Maybe we can look forward to the same thing happening to word Wi-Fi this March at #ACES2019!
Language evolves.Today we change AP style from e-mail to email, no hyphen. Our editors will announce it at #ACES2011 today.
— AP Stylebook (@APStylebook) March 18, 2011
Editor’s Note: We aren’t going to change the spelling of every instance of the word Wi-Fi on our website, but we will be using the WiFi version more often, and now you know why!