Mic or Mike??

Did you know that the early abbreviation for microphone was mike /maɪk/? But over the past 25 years or somic /maɪk/ has been steadily pushing mike out.


The problem with mic is that it doesn’t follow our usual habits of matching abbreviation spellings to our pronunciations. Mic, like similar words ‘tic’, ‘hic’, ‘sic’, and ‘pic’ (the short for picture) looks like it should be pronounced mick. If we want to pronounce it likemike, we should adapt the spelling, as we normally do.

We have…

Coke, not COC(a-cola)

nuke, not NUC(lear)

fave, not FAV(orite)

fridge, not (re)FRIG(erator)

bike, not BIC(ycle)

delish, not DELIC(ious)


There’s an additional problem when it’s used as a verb. When someone is attaching your microphone are they micing you? Are you then miced? No one wants to be covered in mice (the plural for mouse). 😀 But in 2010 the AP style guide switched over to endorse mic for the noun while keeping mike for the verb.



• He tossed the mic on the floor.

• The minister was already miked up for the interview.


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