CamelCase: It’s a thing

Camel case. At first I thought it was a typo. Then I saw it again. And Wikipedia and Google said it was real.

Camel case, a.k.a. camelCase, CamelCase, camel caps or medial capitals, is the practice of writing compound words or phrases such that each word or abbreviation in the middle of the phrase begins with a capital letter. There’s upper camel case, as in “FedEx” and “HarperCollins,” and lower camel case, as in “iPhone” and “eBay.”

CamelCase is named after the “humps” of its capital letters, reminiscent of the humps of a Bactrian camel.

It’s also been called BumpyCaps, BumpyCase, NerdCaps, camelBack or camel-back notation, CamelCaps, CapitalizedWords, CapWords, compoundNames, Embedded Caps or Embedded Capitals, HumpBack or hump-back notation, InterCaps or intercapping, mixedCase for lower camel case in Python, Pascal case for upper camel case, Smalltalk case, Turtle case, WikiWord, WikiCase, ProperCase or StartCase. Personally, I like camel case the best.

It’s Not The Same As Title Case or sentence case. And it’s not Tall Man lettering, as in “predniSONE” vs. “predniSOLONE.” Nor is it “snake_case” as in as in “foo_bar” and “Hello_world,” or even SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE. It’s not StUdLyCaPs or kebab-case or Train-Case.

I knew all of these were conventions of some type, but I never gave any thought to what they might be called. As a technical writer, I should know these things! I’m learning now. And Now You Know Too.

Start here for some more variations on fun with capital letters:

Camel graphic by Silver Spoon Sokpop – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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