Should I use "upvote", "up vote", or "up-vote" on SE sites? What about "downvote"? They're not words in the sense that they're in the dictionary, but they are commonly used in this community. Also, "downvote" reads much more naturally than "down vote".

I upvoted the post with ponies and unicorns.


I up voted the post with ponies and unicorns.


I up-voted the post with ponies and unicorns.

  • 2
    I voted the post with the ponies and unicorns up.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 6:26
  • 3
    Up I voted the post with the ponies and unicorns. @mplungjan. Put the most important information first, willya? Sheesh. We don't want to end up like the awful German language!
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 8:25
  • 5
    Well I upped my votes so now up yours ;)
    – mplungjan
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 8:29
  • @RegDwightѬſ道: I read that, and up I flagged it, for moderator intervention. ;) Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 0:32

5 Answers 5


Within the nomenclature of this site, upvote seems to be the accepted term.

Otherwise, you could go for up-vote or vote up but not up vote.

Upvote and the hyphenated up-vote work because they are compounds and create a new verb. Though the resulting word is not in a dictionary, it works because it follows logical/existing morphology patterns, whereby the prefix 'up-' modifies the verb 'vote'.

Up vote with spaces does not work however, because it confuses the syntax of the sentence.

  • 1
    Unless you're using UK english, or course; they're slower to combine words there, and would prefer up-vote or even "up vote" where it's not causing confusion. Americans tendto combinewords beforethe restoftheworld. (Joking.) Commented May 16, 2011 at 3:26
  • @Neil: If you like the American hyphen-combination, wait until you read German or Greek. (Joking.) I do tend to look at "up-vote" as literally one word/concept, though I'm not sure if this is my American upbringing or my computer geekiness (i.e. computer-like syntax).
    – Wayne
    Commented May 16, 2011 at 12:43
  • 1
    I look at it the same way, as a single concept. To paraphrase what Carol Saller has said many times, "the clear usage is the correct one." Commented May 16, 2011 at 17:56
  • I am English and generally approach things with a staunchly BrEng opinion. I think since this word only really exists in this context and is new, it doesn't particularly belong to either Am or Br... The community dictates, I think. If I were responsible for coining the term though, it would have probably been up-vote...
    – Karl
    Commented May 17, 2011 at 5:56
  • 1
    Glad to know this. As German I have the problem that my spell checker for English doesn't like upvote but my feeling says it is OK. I asked meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/158/… where it was closed as off topic.
    – bernd_k
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 11:04

I would also add that "up vote" throws off my reading stride because saying "I up ..." is improper english and my brain has to make a quick mental note that someone is coining a usage.

"Upvote" might be unrecognizable to someone not familiar with forums such as this, while "Vote up" would be understandable.

"Up-vote" actually strikes me as a noun, not a verb. At least that's how I turn a phrase into an adjective or noun, such as "the man-in-the-middle attack", or "a man-on-the-street interview".

I would vote for "up-vote" to answer the original question: it sounds more natural to my geeky & American ears. If I analyze it closely, I would view it as a noun being used as a verb. (Sorry, I don't always know the proper technical words to describe such things.)


I posted a question on Meta Stack Overflow, "Can we downvote “down-vote” and “up-vote” in the Help Center and the associated tags?" where I linked to the accepted answer to by Karl, and did some additional research which found that dictionaries and Meta Stack Overflow itself favour "downvote" and "upvote" over "down-vote" and "up-vote" respectively.

As this question asks (emphasis mine)

Should I use "upvote", "up vote", or "up-vote" on SE sites? What about "downvote"?

the findings in my question are relevant:

Sadly I couldn't construct an Ngram comparison for the terms - it seems that hyphenated words are difficult to search for.

The usages of "downvote" and "upvote" outnumbers the usages of "down-vote" and "upvote" by more than 4:1, so I would say that "downvote" and "upvote" (which are in some dictionaries, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4) are perfectly fine and in common usage — on Meta Stack Overflow, where the data for the graphs came from, at least — I have no reason to assume that the rest of Stack Exchange will be any different.


In English, some verb phrases are separable, some are inseparable, and some are both, and in some cases separability changes the meaning of the verb. Observe:


He told me off.


He told off me.

also not

He off-told me.


She called for more scrutiny.


She called more scrutiny for.


Turn the music up.

Turn up the music.

Meaning change:

He got off the bus.

He got the bus off.

Up-vote seems to be in the "both" camp, (though I prefer separable).


At the present time, it seems appropriate to use the following abbreviations on SE sites:

  • UV - for upvote
  • DV - for downvote

I've already encountered with those forms in comments for my answers several times. And I was able to understand the meaning of those abbreviations from the context easily.

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