AudioLinks - Catalog The Home of Sound Solutions
Audio & Visual Equipment for Purchase or Rental
Call us for a FREE Quote today:


Subscribe to our Blog Feed

Mike vs. Mic: Which Abbreviation is Correct?

By AudioMan
Posted on Thursday, August 5, 2010
Category: Microphones, Pro Audio, Recording, Sound Reinforcement

AKG CK93: Is it a Mic or a Mike?It’s a familiar dilemma to those of us who write about audio: What’s the abbreviation for microphone, “mike” or “mic”?

For years (since roughly 1961, in fact), the former abbreviation – “mic” – has been the preferred choice of the pro audio industry.

This does lead to problems, however. When you place a “mic” in front of an amp, is the amp “miced”? Or “miked”? Or (horrors!) “mic’d”? The abbreviation simply refuses to comply with standard English rules for spelling and pronunciation (or common sense, for that matter).

What IS the correct abbreviation for microphone, anyway?

“Mic” Gets the Nod For Now

Just last week, the New York Times weighed in on this venerable debate.

Ben Zimmer, in an “On Language” column, ceded defeat (more or less) to the forces in the pro-audio and production industry that have long preferred the abbreviation “mic.”

But he does so under duress.

While he concedes that “mic” is acceptable as a noun (if we ignore the logical tendency to pronounce it “mick”), once the word becomes a verb, we’re plunged into a world of  sloppy tense forms.

For example, what should readers make of the rodent-esque terms “miced” or “micing”, which clearly dictate a soft “C” sound and a long “I”?

The AP Saves the Day (Sort Of)

The Associated Press, in a unilateral decision earlier this year,  sidesteps that  problem by allowing the past tense form “miked”, and the continuous tense form “miking”. But then, of course, we’re left with a glaring inconsistency in spelling between the noun and verb.

Public opinion (as gleaned from Google search results), at any rate, seems to be firmly in the “mic” camp.

But the argument is far from over. Samuel Bayer (also cited in Zimmer’s column)  makes a strong case for “mike” in this well-researched and entertaining blog post.

But in my eyes, the approved AP spelling (and its verb-form compromise)  seems the best solution to the conundrum- and gradually, you’ll see it reflected across the AudioLinks website.


5 Responses to “Mike vs. Mic: Which Abbreviation is Correct?”

  1. Tim Wahl Says:

    Per the mic vs. mike debate, my two cents. Mic could be the choice no matter what. No need to chew on it being “miced.” Look at it this way with the word picnic, a noun. As a verb it becomes picknicked. “we went on a picnic; we picknicked until lat in the evening. Politics in another one: He is good at politicking.

  2. AudioLinks Team Says:

    Thanks for your great feedback Tim!

    -AudioLinks Team

  3. Pete Says:

    But picnic still rhymes with mick or sick. I’m okay with spelling it mic, so long as you pronounce it accordingly. I’m going to stick with mike.

  4. Adam Says:

    I’m weighing in late here, but as it’s the article that google turned up for me, here is my tuppence’ worth.

    I know that many nouns in the English language can be used as a verb but I wasn’t aware that there is an explicit rule stating that every single noun must be usable as a verb in order for it to qualify as a noun. Is there such a rule?

    Why is it insufficient to simply say “a mic is placed in front of the amp” or that “the mic is connected to the amp” (I’m assuming that is what the auther wishes to imply)? I’m also curious what the abbreviation of a noun has to do with a discussion on whether that abbreviation can be turned into a verb. The two topics seem entirely separate.

  5. Gary Says:

    The key to this debate is the punctuation. The abbreviation should be: mic., or mic'; rather than mic, as the full-stop and appostrophe highlight the abbreviation and hence potential pronounciation issues.

Leave a Reply


  • Americans with Disablities Act (ADA) (6)
  • Assistive Listening Devices (29)
  • AudioLinks (20)
  • Classroom AV (32)
  • Electronic Projects (1)
  • Headphones (15)
  • Holiday Ideas (7)
  • Houses of Worship (13)
  • Interpreting (2)
  • Law (1)
  • Microphones (31)
  • Music Business (10)
  • PA Systems (31)
  • Pro Audio (41)
  • Recorders (10)
  • Recording (27)
  • Sound Reinforcement (48)
  • tech tips (19)
  • Tour Guides (3)
  • Uncategorized (19)
  • videos (9)
  • VO (13)
  • Williams Sound (2)
  • Archives

  • February 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • Pages

  • Blog
  • Product Reviews
  • Newsletter SignUp