Q. In the world of engineering, “CMOS” is very well known to stand for “complementary metal-oxide semiconductor.” In preparing a style guide for engineering tech writers, what would be the best way to refer to The Chicago Manual of Style, other than to spell it out every time?
A. Try CMoS (lowercase o) or, better yet, Chicago. Chicago style would normally call for italics for the abbreviated and shortened forms of the title of the manual itself. But you might instead opt for Chicago in regular type—as we often do—to refer to both the style and the manual on which it is based. We at the University of Chicago Press face a similar conundrum. To refer specifically to the manual, we prefer CMOS over Chicago because, from where we sit, Chicago is likely also to refer to the publisher, the university, or the city (or, when italicized, the musical). And whereas CMS was once a favorite around here, the growth of content management systems in the 1990s compelled us to reconsider.