Some examples of article titles:

  • Taking the Leap: How Sociolinguists Can Handle Divergence
  • Closing the Gap: On Linguistic, Regional Convergence
  • Linguistics Revisited: A Statistical Approach to Linguistics

Obviously these are made up, but I do think they serve the purpose. What's the part in bold called? Scientific articles often have this headline which is then followed by an explanatory subtitle, but I'm wondering whether this kind of headline has a specific term to describe it.


4 Answers 4


It is my understanding that what you have bolded is called the title and what follows the colon is known as a subtitle.

See this entry from the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/nls/other/annotation/subtitles.html

And see this entry from the Yale College Writing Center:

Titles and Subtitles

It is common for pieces of academic writing to have both a title and a subtitle. In these works, the title is presented first and separated from the subtitle by a colon.

For example: Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of a Nation

The “title: subtitle” format is rarely obligatory in academic writing, but it is prevalent, in part, because it allows for a greater range of possibilities than using a title alone.


I think it is generally referred to as incipit:

  • The incipit of a text is the first few words of the text, employed as an identifying label. In a musical composition, an incipit is an initial sequence of notes, having the same purpose. The word 'incipit' comes from Latin and means "it begins".


  • But in the examples given, the text does not begin with the bold part and continue with the unbold part. They are not part of the same sentence or phrase.
    – Drew
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 16:08

While the term is more frequently found in discussions of advertising and trademark, rather than linguistics, tagline may be an apt descriptor of these portions of titles

a memorable phrase or sentence that is closely associated with a particular person, product, movie, etc.


As Wikipedia notes

The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable dramatic phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of an audio/visual product

The term is more often used with products, audio-visual works, and business services, but here the title is meant to serve the same purpose - be catchy and though provoking rather than descriptive, which is left for the second half of the title.


Maybe a hook or an opening line.

Both spark interest or capture the readers’ attention, so as to get them to keep reading. Having a hook is one of the best ways to ensure that your text is off to a good start.

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