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Should it be D.J., DJ or deejay?

This is in the context of a person who plays recorded music at a party or club; referring to such a person as a "disk jockey" or "jock" seems hopelessly old-fashioned.

There are three variants in vogue and all are heavily used. Wikipedia redirects deejay to disc jockey and states it is "also known as DJ." From the NYT in 2011: "a not-so-green affair with 50 to 80 people at a hot club with an open bar and a hip-hop deejay." The same source, though, uses a different spelling in another article: "after having spent 30 years as an entertainment industry functionary — as a D.J., promoter and record label exec."

The Washington Post earlier this month wrote: "Martin Solveig will serve as the house deejay at the Gibson Amphitheatre show."
Also, many stage names in the music business favor one form, as in DJ Spooky, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Skribble, etc.

Is there a preferred version of the term?

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  • Interesting Google Ngram of some of the possibilities.
    – mattdm
    Jan 11, 2016 at 22:25

3 Answers 3

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I imagine that the all-lower-case deejay is favoured by publications that try to avoid acronyms and initialisms. Where they are permitted, whether to include or omit the abbreviation marks is a matter of style.

In British English, deejay is not used. (Neither is the similar emcee.)

Note also that DJ is occasionally used informally as an abbreviation for dinner jacket!

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  • deejay is occasionally used in BE, although I would accept that it is not common. DJ is probably the most common, the confusion with clothing being either easily interpreted in context, or for deliberately confusing people. Jun 5, 2012 at 13:44
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Disc/Disk Jockey is abbreviated as "D.J."/"DJ". Nowadays, it's a growing trend to omit the dot(.) from abbreviations. Hence, you see both, D.J. and DJ.

According to a Wikipedia article,

"Deejays are not to be confused with disc jockeys from other music genres like hip-hop, where they select and play music."

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All are used. It is actually a reference to "Disk Jockey", so D.J. is the most accurate, but we're talking about one of the most informal terms I know of, so I wouldn't be too concerned about "correctness".

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  • 7
    Or is it "Disc Jockey"?
    – TecBrat
    Jun 4, 2012 at 20:53

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