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It''s quite common for academic papers and such to have a short title intended to catch the casual browsers's interest, followed by colon and a longer more explanatory alternative.

I know this is a lousy example (I couldn't easily find a better/shorter one), but even so I'm sure this Catchy Title : Longer version conveying more information about the work format is also used in fictional works.

Is there a standard name for that secondary title. It's not really an "alternative title". The only thing that comes to mind for me is byline, but I know that's not right either.

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I love this question. I wish I could upvote it, but ouch, I used all mine up! – Daniel Jul 4 '11 at 17:08
@drm65: You are an assiduous voter! One of these days I'll manage to use all mine up (I'm hoping there'll be some kind of badge for that). – FumbleFingers Jul 4 '11 at 17:45
There could be a couple of badges, or there could be no badges: Used up all my votes, but no Vox Populi badge? – kiamlaluno Jul 4 '11 at 20:38
All will (or may) soon be revealed. I've just finished a quick cook's/critic's tour of past questions, voting on everything I could possibly have an opinion about (I never knew I was so opinionated! :) – FumbleFingers Jul 4 '11 at 21:16
Revealed. I now have my treasured 'Vox Populi' badge! – FumbleFingers Jul 4 '11 at 23:36
up vote 12 down vote accepted


a secondary or subordinate title of a literary work, usually of explanatory character.

I know we usually think of that word in the "I prefer to read my foreign movies" context, but this is definition #1 and, I suspect, the original meaning.

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Brilliant. I'm very used to subtitles in the movie context, on account of always needing to find them for my nonagenarian father who's getting a bit deaf but still loves watching old westerns. But - yes, this probably was the original meaning, given chronology and the advance of technology. – FumbleFingers Jul 4 '11 at 17:43

I would probably said it was the "long title". The "Catchy Title" is called the short title, and provides an easy name to call it by, then the "long title" provides a more comprehensive description of the article.

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Nah. It's definitely the subtitle. Even though that word is now familiar with a totally different meaning to half the non-English-speaking world as they watch their pirated Hollywood blockbusters. – FumbleFingers Jul 4 '11 at 23:30
I know it is a subtitle or a sort of subtitle, I am just providing the specific name for it, as I have learned. – Thursagen Jul 4 '11 at 23:35
Intriguing. The specific names I learned are title and subtitle. Long title and short title are just noun phrases to me, without anything like the specificity you are giving them. – user1579 Jul 5 '11 at 0:33

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