In The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., it actually lists two ways to cite Wikipedia content. The first, in section 14.245, is of the form:

The second, in section 14.248, is of the form:

It's not clear which form to use when. That aside, what if I want to refer to a particular section for an entry. For example, assuming I use the second form above, I could do:

In order to put the name of the section in italics, I thought it best to un-italicize "Wikipedia." Thoughts?

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    There are many referencing styles and none are more "proper" than any others. Mar 31 '14 at 6:42
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    Considering that CMoS devotes two entire chapters to it on everything from citing books to Supreme Court cases, the evidence would suggest otherwise. Mar 31 '14 at 6:45
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    You would not normally list a section (heading) of an article in your bibliography; do not do it for Wikipedia. And definitely keep Wikipedia italicized. That's the convention for titles of major works and should not be changed arbitrarily. Mar 31 '14 at 7:28
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    Wikipedia itself suggests "Wikipedia contributors, 'Plagiarism,' Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Plagiarism&oldid=5139350 (accessed August 10, 2004)." That's CMoS. It also provides examples for other styles.
    – RegDwigнt
    Mar 31 '14 at 12:27
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    Presumably somebody has mandated that you adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style in the first place. So why not simply ask them which style they prefer where? (And if nobody has mandated that you use it, then which form do you prefer?) Apr 2 '14 at 0:21

With regards to your first question of, it's not clear which to use when, I think it might be a matter of how you think about Wikipedia, and how you're using it in your paper:

  • if you think of it as an online encyclopedia, then you go with 14.248 (because the heading there is Dictionaries and encyclopedias online", and other examples in the list include the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online and the MW Online)
  • if you think of it as just a website with content you're using, then go with 14.245 (aka "Citations of web content").

As for your second question, I would go with:

Wikipedia, s.v. "Trolley Pole: Origin of the Term," last modified Mar 22, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_pole.

...but you definitely need to keep the italics in the same place as in the example they provided!


If you are asking "How do people generally cite Wikipedia according to the Chicago Manual of Style",

The usual way is to simply use the Wikipedia tool. In the left navigation bar of every Wikipedia page, under Tools section, you can find a "Cite this page" link. Clicking that link will bring you to a page with pre-generated citations formats. The Chicago style looks like this:

Wikipedia contributors, "Style guide," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Style_guide&oldid=679089515 (accessed September 22, 2015).

Wikipedia contributors, "Stevie Nicks," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stevie_Nicks&oldid=679854093 (accessed September 22, 2015).

The characters "Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia," are italicized.

That said, if you have a reviewer (the person that mandates you to use so-called "Chicago Style") then you'd probably need to cite it whatever way he prescribes.

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