Updated 6/20/2007
Styleguide: A-C | D-G| H-L| M-R | S-Z | REVIEWS | PEOPLE, PICS AND MORE

To suggest corrections, additions or changes, email gary.north@variety.com

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If not listed below, consult the following references in the following order:

AP Stylebook; Webster’s II New College Dictionary; www.m-w.com; www.dictionary.com

———————-

made-for – a made-for-television movie

mainstage – and backstage, but: center stage

major – the seven MPA companies: Sony (Col), Viacom (Par), Fox, Warners, Universal, Disney (Miramax is a mini-major linked to it) and MGM (UA is its arthouse arm); see also “indie” and “mini-major.”

makeup (n), make-up (adj) — makeup is what the makeup artist puts on the actor’s face, or how a group is constituted; but: He missed the test, so he had to take a make-up exam.

maker & making as a suffix — in general no hyphen: dealmaker, decisionmaker, filmmaking, moneymaking, moviemaking, policymaker, etc., contrary to AP. Exception: Words longer than four or five syllables get a hyphen or space — documentary-making (gerund or adj), documentary maker (two words as a noun)

man – frontman, hitman, stuntman; bluesman, sideman but: frat man

management – avoid abbreviating in company titles

manga – a Japanese form of print comics; anime is Japanese animation that often incorporates manga-type images and has been influenced by it.

man-made

mantle — figurative shell — the mantle of authority — or ” the earth’s mantle”

mantel — above a fireplace

market share – two words

“MASH” – the movie and TV series (no asterisks)

matchbox twenty — lower-case, not Matchbox 20, matchbox 20 nor Matchbox Twenty for this musical group

matchup

mates – stablemates, soulmates

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (former MCA parent still owns 20%)

m.d. – managing director

mega – not usually hyphenated: megaton. However, when it’s a made-up word or might be unclear, hyphenate: mega-merger; exception: megahit

megaplex – movie theater with more than 16 screens

meller – melodrama

Merchant Ivory Prods. – no hyphen

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. The studio is MGM Pictures; United Artists Pictures is a separate entity under the MGM Inc. banner. The distribution arm is MGM Distribution. Also under the MGM Inc. umbrella is Orion Pictures and Goldwyn Films (production entities), MGM Worldwide Television Group, MGM Music and MGM Home Entertainment and Consumer Products.

mic, mike – either is acceptable for microphone

mid – in general, prefix takes no hyphen unless word it precedes is capitalized: midmorning, midday, mid-May. With numbers use a hyphen: mid-six, mid-teens, mid-30s

Midem,

Mifed

mindset – no hyphen, contrary to some dictionary listings.

minefield — but: land mine

mini-major – hyphenated. Used to describe (generally) free-standing (currently or formerly) film production companies, such as New Line, Castle Rock, Polygram, etc. Essentially it means a healthy “indie.” Miramax is part of Disney but operates like a mini-major, so can be called that. DreamWorks can pretty much be considered a mini-major. Calling Artisan a mini-major seems to be a stretch – it’s a production company. (EG 8/22/2000)

mini-mall

miniseries – one word (synonym: multiparter or limited series); if only two nights, call it a “two-part film”

Mip

Mipcom

Mip TV

mise en scene — three words no hyphens, no italics; means stage setting

mom-and-pop stores – note the hyphens; phrase crops up in some vid-rental stories

Momentum Pictures – U.K. distribution joint venture between Alliance Atlantis and Kinowelt

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money:

  • British pound vs. Irish pound – use alt-0163 for the symbol (£) for the British pound; spell out the word “pound” for Irish money.
  • conversion: U.S. currency is placed in paraenthese following the first reference of foreign currency on first reference; thereafter, only the U.S. figure is used: A$100 million ($30 million); C$100 million ($30 million); but thereafter $45 million, etc.
  • multibillion-dollar deal (note where the hyphen is, when used in a sentence such as “He had a multibillion-dollar deal”); however, never hyphenate between figure and word even as an adjective: “He had a $100 million deal.”

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moppet – child, especially child actor

MOR – middle of the road (as in type of music)

Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement community – l.c. is correct; facility is in Woodland Hills; it funds the Motion Picture & Television Hospital and Country Home (or just Home)

motorsports – one word, as per AP

mount – always spelled out as part of name: Mount Wilson

moveover

moviehouse – one word

moviehouse – one word, but try to avoid as it looks weird

Movielink — not MovieLink

moviemaking – one word, see “maker/making”

movie-of-the-week, MOW – obsolete term to be avoided; use telefilm, made-for, TV movie, etc.

MPA – the Motion Picture Assn., which represents interests of U.S. majors abroad. Formerly the Motion Picture Export Assn. of America, or MPEAA.

MPAA – Motion Picture Assn. of America should be spelled out somewhere in story)

MPEG vid standard – Moving Picture Experts Group

MSO – multisystem operator (cable); spell out on first reference

MTVU – not mtvU for this college network

multi – almost never hyphenated: i.e., multifaceted, multipic, multimillion; these are correct; also correct is a

multimillion-dollar deal

multiplex – a movie theater with more than two screens but less than 16

Mumbai – use instead of Bombay

Museum of Television & Radio

the Music Center – this L.A. name has been this way since Jan. 1, 2001, when the center reverted to its historic moniker. The use of the descriptive “Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County” was briefly its name (1999-2000), but has otherwise been the Music Center since 1964. Its logo on press releases says:
MUSIC CENTER
Performing Arts Center
of Los Angeles County
The first is its name, the second is its description. The Music Center includes the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theater and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

musicvid, musicvideo, musicstore

NABET – National Assn. of Broadcast Employees & Technicians. The TV station employees union; the word “Engineers” is not in the name.

names – see: Asian Names, Spanish/Romance Language Names, Foreign Names, Commonly Mis-spelled Names & Film/Show Titles

NARAS – Natl. Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; stages the Grammys.

narrowcast

Nasdaq

NASCAR — exception to house rule

NATPE – stands for National Assn. of Television Program Executives. It always needs to be spelled out in the main story of the day, if not in the lede then on second reference. Same holds for other alphabet events.

NATO – Natl. Assn. of Theater Owners

National – Natl. is OK in name of company or org; Nat’l in heds

National Theater — previously the Royal National Theater; abbreviations: NT or the National

Native American – see “ethnic” entry

NBC — owned by General Electric (G.E.). Nicknamed Peacock web.

NBC Universal — NBC U (note the space, no hyphen); NBC U has redubbed its TV studio arm Universal Media Studios (previously NUTS — NBC U TV Studios).

NCTA – now stands for National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. (previously, the T stood for Television)

net – network; if capitalized at start of sentence, be sure context is clear that you are referring to a broadcast or cable network and not the Internet

Net – the Internet; see caution under “net,” above.

Netco – short for Internet company; use sparingly

netlet – OK to refer to the fledgling WB Network and United Paramount Network.

new-media companies – hyphenate this compound modifier when referring to “new media” such as Internet, DVD, satellite radio and other inventions. We’ll cross the virtual bridge when “new media” become commonplace…

newsbriefs – new style for newsbriefs on daily world pages, per EG: Keep taglines in.

newsmagazine, newsmag

newsshow, newsroom, newsgathering

nicknames – go in double quotes: Charles E. “Chuck” Jones

Nielsen Media Research — TV ratings org; compare with Nielsen EDI for film, not ACNielsen EDI (and Nielsen EDI FilmSource in some charts).

NIELSEN TV FIGURES — With the total number of TV households on the rise, Nielsen Media Research has rejiggered its demographic estimates. Org has tallied 106.7 million TV households in the U.S. from information derived from sources including Nielsen samples and the 2000 census. For the 2002-2003 season, each ratings point will now represent 1,067,000 households, up from 1,055,000 last year. The new number went into effect with the Aug. 26- Sept. 1 broadcast week and will remain in place through Jan. 1, 2003. Totals increased in almost all demos including persons 2-plus, women 18-plus and men 18-plus. Only decline was in children 2-11, which fell to 39.9 million from 40.7 million.

Nielsen SoundScan – the company that tracks sales of recorded music, formerly known as SoundScan.

nightclub — but: night spot

non — contrary to AP, no hyphen in general; exceptions: non-pro (especially in birth announcements); non-union; non-exclusive; non-existent

Nordrhein-Westfalen – a region of Germany. Use the German spelling.

nosedive (noun), nose-dive (verb)

n.s.g. – review slanguage for “not so good” (rarely used)

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numbers:

- Spell out the numbers zero through nine, use numerals from 10 up.

- EXCEPTIONS: Ages are always numerals: He was 6 years old, the 3-year-old law (exception to AP 2005)

- Dimensions use numerals: It was 4 feet square.

- Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence: Forty-eight people attended. THE exception to the rule is years: 1993 is off to a busy start.

- With millions, it’s always numerals, whether it’s 1 million or 149 million.

- Large numbers, such as yearly box office figures or corporate earnings, can go out to as many as three decimal points for precision: $5.435 billion.

- numbers and ranking: No. 1 film, No. 3 position, etc.

- numerals and apostrophes: For decades, it’s ’80s, not 80’s; for age groups, it’s 30s, 40s, 50s.

- The new Word program makes superscript letters following numerals such as 1st, 2nd, etc., when the numer and letters are typed and then the space bar is tapped (which is usually the case). If you add the letters after having hit the space bar (such as during editing), be sure to retype the number and the letters plus a space in order to get the superscript. (Todd et al. will decide later whether we want to retain this as style, but since the superscript is built in as the default, we’ll use it as is for now.)

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N.Y. – never NY, but NYC is OK in some heds and if necessary in copy; Gotham also acceptable

Nynex

NYU — acceptable in all references to New York University

O&O, O&Os – network owned-and-operated TV or radio stations

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obits – identify by name only those survivors who work in the industry (except spouses and longtime companions). Among siblings, however, if you identify one who is in the industry, you should identify the others. For example, Petula Smith is survived by husband Ray, three daughters and four grandchildren. Or: Jack Bigcheese is survived by wife Betty; son Chip Bigcheese, head of Big Studios; and a daughter, Linda. Or: Sandy Smith is survived by nine children and 14 grandchildren. Obits should always include cause, date and place of death.

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Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway (no hyphens)

off guard

office — cap the word if it’s part of a formal or well-known name: the Hays Office, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development — but: the mayor’s office

off-net — shows from the networks now in syndication

offramp, onramp

offscreen

offstage

OK, OKs, OK’d – never “okay”

Olympics – Olympic styles (as per AP): the Games (cap G), the Winter Games, the Summer Games, the

Opening Ceremony,
the Closing Ceremony

on air (v); on-air (adj.) – try to avoid especially when describing a show on cable or satellite; term generally refers to traditional over-the-airwaves broadcasts to rooftop antennas.

onboard (in all usages)

OnDigital — British TV service

one-time (AP) but longtime (AP)

online — one word

onscreen — but: on camera

onstage

onto vs. on to:

- He logged on to the computer (as with: He logged on).

- ABC was able to hold on to the lead. (This is up for debate.)

- He jumped onto the box.

- The U.S. is onto bin Laden’s motives.

Contrast with “into”

open-minded

o’seas — overseas in heads only

Oscars — see Acad of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

p.a. – personal appearance – generally only appears in Army Archerd’s column; he also uses it as a verb: p.a., p.a.’d

P.A. — personal assistant or production assistant

PACE Theatricals

Pacific Rim — According to the dictionary, these are the countries/states bordering the Pacific Ocean, including those on the western coast of North America, as well as Japan, Australia, etc. Do not use this term when what you really mean is Asia, Australasia, the Western Pacific, etc.

Pacific Telesis Group — San Francisco-based telecommunications company. PacTel is acceptable abbreviation.

Pacific Theaters — even though official name is spelled Theatres

Palme d’Or — top prize at Cannes Film Festival.

P&A — prints and advertising (per Slanguage guide); sometimes also: publicity & advertising

pan — capitalized with proper nouns: Pan-African, Pan-American.

Paramount Pictures, Par — owned by publicly traded Viacom Inc., which is controlled by National Amusements, the privately held family exhibition biz of Sumner Redstone; Par Classics now Par Vantage

Pax TV — not PaxNet

paybox

payday

pay dirt

pay-per-view, PPV

pay TV (n. and adj., no hyphen ever)

p.c. — politically correct

PC — personal computer

Peacock web – NBC

Pearson Television – has been renamed FremantleMedia; see also FremantleMedia; Pearson PLC still exists

People Meters — a device used by Nielsen Media Research to help determine TV ratings

per — don’t substitute for “according to” or “said”

perf, perfs — performance(s)

percent — always % when using figures, not percent or per cent

percenter — agent

personal video recorder — PVR; prefered term is digital video recorder or DVR

Philips Media

photo credit — double-check photo credits (photog’s name and affiliation only for Getty Images) against the photo printout when proofing, rimming or slotting; style: WireImage, John Smith/Getty Images; AP Photo (cap P), Zuma Press)

pic, pics, pix – pix is plural only in heds

pickup

pinkslip – always one word as noun or verb.

pinup

pixelated — a video or phot that is broken into squares, obscuring the view; pixilated = mentally unbalanced

PlayStation — Sony gaming platform

Plc — private limited corp. Abbreviation for U.K. equivalent of Inc. takes no periods.

plex — multiplex, megaplex. BUT eight-plex, six-plex, etc.

plotline — one word

plow — not plough

plurals — See AP Stylebook. A notable exception to AP rules applies to all-cap headlines. the plural form of acronym-abbreviations such as CD is CDs, but for visual clarity’s sake in an all-caps hed the plural becomes CD’S TAKE NATION BY STORM. (This rule will probably be applied on a case-by-case basis.)

political party affiliation: Contrary to AP style, but common to historic Variety style, should be as follows (with parens, instead of commas as separators): …said Sen. John Smith (R-Conn.) and Rep. Henry Hiyall (D-Miss.).

Polygram – lowercase g

the Pond — cap P when referring to the Atlantic Ocean

pop star

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possessives:

  • Singular possessives for regular nouns are formed by adding an APOSTROPHE and S, even when the regular noun ends in S, unless the thing being possessed begins with S. (actress’s gown, but actress’ slippers). This is AP style. Proper names ending in S take an apostrophe without another s. (Butkus’ helmet)
  • A problem that crops up now and then is turning names that end with an S into possessives by just sticking an apostrophe before the final S. WRONG: It was Robin William’s show. CORRECT: It was Williams’ show.
  • Words ending in x and z take an apostrophe and s to form the possessive, except crix, exex and pix, which are plural and take only an apostrophe.
    ? Warner Bros.’ top brass had lunch with the prez.

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post — generally follow AP style; see exception of below

post-production

p.o.v. — point of view

powwow

praisery — public relations firm

PR — public relations (no periods)

pre — no hyphen; exceptions per below and per AP when two e’s come together (pre-eminent, etc.)

preem — premiere

preempt — is NOT hyphenated in any form, exception to AP

pre-production

pre-sales, pre-sold, pre-selling

president, prez, prexy; plural is prexies (as of 8/3/2005), not prexys

press time — This expression is verboten. (But it is two words.)

pretrial

pricetag

PricewaterhouseCoopers – accounting firm; one word, cap C, lowercase w.

Prime Time Entertainment Network, PTEN — Warner Bros. syndication framework

primetime – one word unless part of a proper name

Prince — We call him the Artist, not the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and not the symbol

prizewinner, prizewinning — but: Pulizer Prize winner

Prod. (vs. Prods.) – OK only when the formal name of a company is not a plural (such as: Super Vision Production and Prime Pictures Production — use Prod.)

prodco — not acceptable for “production company”

prod’n — in heads only for the word production

Prods. — Always abbreviate in proper names of companies (NBC Prods.). Do not use Inc. or Ltd. after Prods.; drop it.

programming blocks — don’t put in quotemarks unless too unfamiliar, vs. Kids’ WB, the N-Zone, etc.

producer — there is no Slanguage for this word. Prod’r is not acceptable in any context.

Producers Guild of America — PGA on second reference OK

Promax — formerly BPME (Promotion & Marketing Executives); confab of TV execs in June

proof (suffix) — generally no hyphen: bulletproof

ProSieben

ProSiebenSat 1 — per EG; result of merger of Pro and SAT 1

prove, proved, proven — use proven only as an adjective: a proven draw.

pubcaster — public broadcaster (such as the BBC)

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pullquotes:

  • generally please keep pullquotes to a reasonable length, more like three or four lines, not full paragraphs. Please use judgment — they need to be a few words.
  • with 2-line attribution should have the person’s name on the first line and his affiliation on the second line:
    ‘Cheeseburgers
    are dee-lish.’
    Wimpy Smith
    burger aficionado
  • The name may but doesn’t have to precede the affiliation if it’s a one-line attribution.
    ‘French fries or ice cream – mmmmmm!’
    cholesterol fiend Homer Simpson
  • Use single quotes on quotations. No – preceding attribution.

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punchline — exception to dictionaries; see also storyline, storyboard

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punctuation —

“!,” “?,” (when ! or ? is part of a name or title) — exception to AP’s general rule that an exclamation mark supercedes a comma: That rule still is valid when there is a quote:

“I won’t go with you!” she shouted.

But:

SoundScan said the top records were “Fired Up!,” “Am I?,” “Music Requests to E!,” “The Best of Babs” and “The Hobbit Returns.”

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Pusan — now called Busan, but this Souoth Korean city’s fest is still called Pusan Intl. Film Fesitval, or PIFF (also breaks new rule against including “Intl.” in fest titles because PIFF would then not make sense)

Q ratings — ad research rating of TV celeb likability

quarters — 1Q, 2Q, etc. — OK in heds for 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, etc., per EG (via Carmel) 4-24-02

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quizshow (gameshow)

quotations (see also pullquotes):

  • CORRECT: The writer said, “I am thrilled to be here.”
    ? CORRECT: The writer said he was “thrilled to be here. WRONG: The writer said that, “The problem is directors.
  • WRONG: The writer said, “what about editors?”
  • OK: The MPAA chief added that “we think we ought to get this labeling thing behind us.”
  • Avoid opening or closing a quotation with parenthetical information. If the writer doesn’t use a full quote, paraphrase it.
  • Sources: please eliminate ALL “sources said,” “it is understood that. . . ” and “according to an insider,” etc., etc. from stories. Where absolutely necessary, a word like “apparently” can be inserted to suggest something that’s not necessarily confirmed.

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quotation marks

  • Single quotes in headlines, pullquotes and subheds; double quotes in text and cutlines.
  • In weekly Variety charts and text superimposed on photos, use single quotes if the text is in Franklin Gothic ExtCond caps
  • In daily Inside box and Numbers box: single quotes in heds, double in text.

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RAI — all caps in all uses: RAI Cinema, RAI (the broadcaster), RAI Trade, etc.; contrary to company’s (inconsistent) usage.

R&B – rhythm and blues

range – two figures are needed for a range. Wrong: The budget is in the $25 million range. Right: The budget is in the $25 million-$30 million range. Right: The pic’s budget is about $25 million

Rank Organization Plc

rap-artist name vs. thesp name – general rule is context. For example: Use J.Lo when referring to Jennifer Lopez’s rap records, concerts and other such efforts; use her full name when referring to her films and other acting endeavors. Use 2Pac when referring to the late Tupac Shakur’s rap records and related efforts and when article is focusing on rap artists; use his full name when referring to other endeavors. Use P. Diddy or Puff Daddy regarding Sean “Puffy” Combs’ rap endeavors.

ratings of TV shows or foreign box office — no datelines; see also Datelines

re-create (exception)

ratings in financial stories — A Double-A-Minus rating is either Aa- (if it’s Moody’s) or AA- (if it’s Standard & Poor’s). Same applies to Bb+ BB+, etc.

ratings (oz films) – there is also an M classification, which is just a ‘mature’ advisory; R18+ is just that, you can’t get in if you’re younger M15 (which is locally called MA, but I simplify to M15 for international readers) under 15s cannot view unless accompanied by a parent

Reed Midem Organization – company related to Reed Elsevier that stages Mip, Midem and many other markets and trade shows.

Regal Entertainment Group — motion picture exhib created by Philip Anschutz comprising Regal Cinemas Corp., United Artists Theater Co. and Edwards Theaters Inc.; operates 5,886 screens in 561 theaters in 36 states — approximately 17% of all screens in the United States.

reissue

re-release

Renascence Films, Renaissance Communications

rentals – portion of film grosses that goes to film distributors. Rental also can refer to video prices; see sell-through.

repurpose, repurposing – new media term for reformulating/translating a property from one medium to another. Example: Turning “The Lion King” movie into a CD-ROM would be repurposing. (as of 5/14/02 per EG via Nick)

rerun

revenue sharing (no hyphen as noun, hypen if compound modifier, exception to the compound gerund rule)

reup, reupped

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reviews (see also REVIEWS STYLEGUIDE: times:

  • TV: programs 3 hours or less should be noted in minutes: 30 MIN., 120 MIN., but 4 HOURS. Note that the words “Running time:” are NOT used in TV reviews.

  • Legit: hours and minutes: 1 HOUR, 10 MIN.
    * Films: Minutes only: 182 MIN.

  • Legit: Producers’ credits are NOT included in LEGIT credit boxes. (The one in the sample guide of George C. Wolfe is essentially there because he’s the artistic director of the Public Theater, but he doesn’t use that title.) We only list producers if they’re ABOVE the title: A John Smith and Jane Jones presentation of a play by . . .

  • Films: When a review headline has a non-English name in the second line of type (BELOW the English title), CAPITALIZE the non-English name. (The non-English name should also be in lightface Helvetica); see also the printed Reviews Style Sheet.

  • We have abandoned genre labels on ALL reviews, with the exception of the following very broad categories:
    – FILM: Animated, docu
    – TV: Series, miniseries, telepic, special, docu, sports (sporting event)
    – LEGIT: in credits, “a musical in two acts. . .” or “a play in two acts. . .”
    – MUSIC: None
    – BOOKS: None
    Also, we no longer indicate whether a production is a comedy, drama, musical, biopic or psychological basketball action thriller, etc.

  • In film reviews:

    – When there is more than more producer, we use commas, never “and.”

    – If a film is written and directed by the same person, it is:
    Directed, written by Joe Blow.
    NOT: Directed by Joe Blow. Screenplay by Joe Blow from. . .
    NOT: Directed and screenplay by Joe Blow.

    – Music credit goes third: Camera, editor, music

    – Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 23, 2002.

    Not: Reviewed January 23, 2002, at Sundance Film Festival (Dramatic Competition).

    ======

    RIAA – Recording Industry Assn. of America; aka: the Recording Academy – but NARAS is also called this so watch reference and context; same as ATAS and AMPAS are the Acad

    ridefilm

    road show – two words, but Village Roadshow (one word)

    rock ’n’ roll – not rock ‘n’ roll. But Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland

    roller coaster, roller-coaster ride

    rollout

    run:

  • run-down (adj.) — dilapidated: the run-down building.

  • rundown (n.) — a summary: Give me the rundown on the fall sked.

  • run down (v./adv.) — to be in ill health, addled, dilapidated: The building was run down; I’m feeling run down.

    run-up (n)

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