Every now and then one comes across a shortened form of headlines in media, mostly the news. For example:

Study: Inflation Forcing More Americans To Choose Between Buying Groceries, Aston Martin DBS [emphasis mine]

The most obvious reason for this is to keep headlines simple and brief. In the example given, word "finds" is replaced by a colon, and a comma is used to substitute "and". I suspect this form of headline was born in letterpress printing era, but I've not been able to track the history of it.

What is the origin (first recorded or known usage/appearance) of short form headlines in media/the news?

sorry for the not-quite-serious-enough example, but this is the latest one I stumbled upon.

  • 3
    This topic seems too large and vague to be answered here. If you look at collections of classic newspaper headlines you'll see a lot of variation, including between publications (tabloids often favoring short headlines in massive print while the New York Times might have a 16-word title). And as well as differing between publications, it will differ between countries. I'd guess a lot of it comes from the rise of mass-market tabloids after 1900, but publications like the NYT or in the UK the Times and Telegraph have their own traditions.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 10:25
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because this topic seems too large and vague to be answered here.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 10:47
  • For a person with knowledge about the history of printed press this would be easy-peasy. It may be traceable to a decade, even a year. I chose EL&U SE over history SE, as this is clearly a question about language, not person or event.
    – Jpe61
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 10:54
  • 3
    Headline article in Wikipedia gives a hint: "The large type front page headline did not come into use until the late 19th century when increased competition between newspapers led to the use of attention-getting headlines." It narrows down the search so the news headlines can be analyzed around that time. There is an early example given: "WALL ST. LAYS AN EGG – Variety on Black Monday (1929)". I believe the short forms can be considered a "synecdoche" in some cases, as it is popular in advertising also.
    – ermanen
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 13:31
  • 1
    You can see multiple instances of telegram-style shortening in subordinate headlines on the [front page of the St. Paul [Minnesota] Daily Globe](chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025287/1883-11-20/ed-1/…) of November 20, 1883. For example: "The Grain Markets Confined Within a Narrow Range"; "The Ups and Downs but Slight"; "Less Doing in Provisions and Prices Somewhat Shaded"; "The Complications Among the Nations Becoming Serious"; "England Solicitous over Affairs in China"; "The Egyptian War Causing Alarm"; "A British Force to Be Kept in Egypt".
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 23:16


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