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Disambiguation in Wikipedia is the process of resolving conflicts that arise when a potential article title is ambiguous, most often because it refers to more than one subject covered by Wikipedia, either as the main topic of an article, or as a subtopic covered by an article in addition to the article's main topic. For example, Mercury can refer to a chemical element, a planet, a Roman god, and many other things.

There are three important aspects to disambiguation:

  • Naming articles in such a way that each has a unique title. For example, three of the articles dealing with topics ordinarily called "Mercury" are titled Mercury (element), Mercury (planet) and Mercury (mythology).
  • Making the links for ambiguous terms point to the correct article title. For example, an editor of an astronomy article may have created a link to Mercury, and this should be corrected to point to Mercury (planet).
  • Ensuring that a reader who searches for a topic using a particular term can get to the information on that topic quickly and easily, whichever of the possible topics it might be. For example, the page Mercury is a disambiguation page—a non-article page which lists various meanings of "Mercury" and which links to the articles that cover them. (As discussed below, however, ambiguous terms do not always require a disambiguation page.)

This page discusses the standard ways of handling the above issues. For detailed advice about the format of disambiguation pages, see the style manual.

Deciding to disambiguate

Disambiguation is required whenever, for a given word or phrase on which a reader might search, there is more than one existing Wikipedia article to which that word or phrase might be expected to lead. In this situation there must be a way for the reader to navigate quickly from the page that first appears to any of the other possible desired articles.

There are three principal disambiguation scenarios, of which the following are examples:

  • The page at Joker is a disambiguation page, leading to all the alternative uses of Joker.
  • The page at Rice is about one usage, called the primary topic, and there is a hatnote guiding readers to Rice (disambiguation) to find the other uses.
  • The page at Michael Dobbs is about the primary topic, and there is only one other use. The other use is linked directly using a hatnote; no disambiguation page is needed.

For how to decide which of these scenarios is appropriate in a given case, consider the following sections.

Broad-concept articles

If the primary meaning of a term proposed for disambiguation is a broad concept or type of thing that is capable of being described in an article, and a substantial portion of the links asserted to be ambiguous are instances or examples of that concept or type, then the page located at that title should be an article describing it and not a disambiguation page. Where the primary topic of a term is a general topic that can be divided into subtopics, such as chronologically (e.g., History of France) or geographically (e.g., Rugby union in the British Isles), the unqualified title should contain an article about the general topic rather than a disambiguation page. A disambiguation page should not be created just because it is difficult to write an article on a topic that is broad, vague, abstract, or highly conceptual. Where there are additional meanings that are not instances or examples of a Foo primary concept or type, those should be included on a Foo (disambiguation) page.

For example:

  • Particle (previously a disambiguation page) is a broad and abstract concept used to address many different ideas in physics, generally relating to small units from which larger things are composed. Although there are many different kinds of particles at levels ranging from the subatomic to the macroscopic, the broad concept is properly susceptible to explanation in an article. Truly unrelated meanings, such as Particle (band), are presented only at Particle (disambiguation).
  • A Supreme court, National trust, or Finance minister (or Ministry of Finance) is each a kind of entity occurring in multiple countries and possibly in other political entities and serving the same purpose in each. Rather than having disambiguation pages at these titles linking to existing articles on these entities by nation, each should contain an article describing in general terms what the concept is and how the different examples of this concept relate to each other.
  • The Microsoft Lumia is a cell phone with many different design models. The fact that different models in the same series of product by the same manufacturer may have the same name, or the same combination of name and number, does not make them ambiguous. The relationship between these design models can and should be discussed on a page describing products created by or licensed by the same manufacturer.
  • Central Asia, Northern Europe, and Southern United States are geographic designations that have been used with respect to different specific boundaries over time. Varying uses for broad geographic terms can be discussed in the context of an article describing the overall agreement of which areas definitely fall within that designation and which areas are only occasionally described as falling within that designation, for certain purposes.
  • Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot. Although the word "football" can apply to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears, all of these variations share some common elements and can be traced to a common origin. Thus, the history and development of the general concept of football can be explained in its own article. Football (disambiguation) describes the various literal uses of the word including the actual balls.
  • Many definitions of triangle center are used in Euclidean geometry, which coincide only in the special case of equilateral triangles. The article lists a dozen of these and also gives a validity criterion applicable to various definitions of center.

In writing articles on these subjects, it is useful to directly address the scope of the term and the history of how the concept has developed. Each of the examples of the concept or type of thing should be included at some point in the article, possibly in a list, so that no information is lost from what would have been presented in the disambiguation page format. Consider using summary style to incorporate information about the subtopics into the main article.

Pages needing to be expanded to describe the concept may be tagged with {{Broad-concept article}}.

Is there a primary topic?

Although a word, name, or phrase may refer to more than one topic, sometimes one of these topics can be identified as the term's primary topic. This is the topic to which the term should lead, serving as the title of (or a redirect to) the relevant article. If no primary topic exists, then the term should be the title of a disambiguation page (or should redirect to a disambiguation page on which more than one term is disambiguated). The primary topic might be a broad-concept article, as mentioned above.

While Wikipedia has no single criterion for defining a primary topic, two major aspects that editors commonly consider are these:

  1. A topic is primary for a term with respect to usage if it is highly likely—much more likely than any other single topic, and more likely than all the other topics combined—to be the topic sought when a reader searches for that term.
  2. A topic is primary for a term with respect to long-term significance if it has substantially greater enduring notability and educational value than any other topic associated with that term.

In most cases, the topic that is primary with respect to usage is also primary with respect to long-term significance; in many other cases, only one sense of primacy is relevant. In a few cases, there is some conflict between a topic of primary usage (Apple Inc.) and one of primary long-term significance (Apple). In such a case, consensus may be useful in determining which topic, if any, is the primary topic.

Determining a primary topic

There are no absolute rules for determining whether a primary topic exists and what it is; decisions are made by discussion among editors, often as a result of a requested move. Tools that may help to support the determination of a primary topic in a discussion (but are not considered absolute determining factors, due to unreliability, potential bias, and other reasons) include:

  • WikiNav, which shows a graph of incoming and outgoing traffic from a given page, as well as other graphs. It can be used to compare incoming and outgoing traffic patterns, but doesn't show the long tail of traffic well because it anonymizes data that is more scarce. The top graph shows only a single month of historical traffic, so it's fair to consider it over a longer period of time before suggesting changes.
  • Wikipedia article traffic statistics (for the exact title of a page or a redirect) and redirect traffic statistics (for the total views of a page including traffic coming from its redirects).
  • Usage in English reliable sources demonstrated with Google Ngram viewer, Books, Scholar, News, and Trends. Simple web searches may be problematic due to limited sources, open interpretation, and personal search bias, but may be helpful if other methods are inconclusive.
  • Incoming wikilinks from Special:WhatLinksHere (their count).

Some general principles for determining a primary topic include:

  • While long-term significance is a factor, historical age is not determinative.
  • Being the original source of the name is also not determinative. Boston, Massachusetts is the primary topic for Boston, not the English town from which it took its name.
  • A topic may have principal relevance for a specific group of people (for example, as the name of a local place, or software), but not be the primary meaning among a general audience. An attorney may read the word hearing and immediately think of a courtroom, but the auditory sense is still the primary topic.
  • A rule of thumb is that it's unlikely that there is a primary topic by usage if the top WikiNav graph shows a spread of multiple significant usages, or if there is so little traffic that few or no graphs are shown. Conversely, a rule of thumb is that it's likely there is a primary topic by usage if the top graph shows a single significant usage that maps to almost all of the incoming traffic and overwhelms all other usages.
  • Initialisms and acronyms are often so ambiguous that it's less likely a primary topic can be determined in those cases.

Not "what first comes to (your) mind"

Perhaps the most commonly rejected criterion is that the primary topic should only belong to what "first comes to mind". This argument is inevitably tainted by factors such as one's location, ideology, ethnicity, and other personal biases, but we are trying to build an encyclopedia that is untainted by systemic bias. Therefore, the primary topic is determined without regard to certain attributes, such as national origin, of the articles in question.

Because many topics on Wikipedia are more interesting or pertinent to particular groups, one potential criterion to commonly avoid is what "first comes to mind". An American might first think of the city in Alabama when Birmingham is mentioned, but primary topic belongs to the city in England, which is far more notable and whose article is read much more often. Raleigh takes you directly to the American city, even though a British reader may not even know of the city and only think of the explorer or bicycle manufacturer when Raleigh is mentioned. What first comes to your mind when you hear the word Java? It may be coffee or a programming language, but the primary topic belongs to the island with over 150 million people living on it.

Partial title matches should also be considered. Consider what users searching with the term in question are most likely to be seeking. For instance, New York City is a partial title match for "York" and is far more notable and likely to be sought (more page views) than is the British city from which it got its name, and the vast majority of the time that "York" is used in books, it is used as part of the phrase "New York".[a] However, since users are unlikely to search for New York with the search term "York", which is supported by the rare use of unqualified "York" to refer to "New York" in reliable sources, York still hosts an article on the British city, and no suggestion to change that would be seriously entertained. Likewise, "Sofia" has been the first name of countless girls and women throughout history; however, as a single term it most commonly refers to the Bulgarian capital, and anyone searching with plain "Sofia" is most likely looking for that city.[b]

To be clear, it is not our goal to astonish our readers, and the topic that comes first to mind indeed often is suitable as the primary topic. Anne Hathaway, as one of countless examples, takes the reader to the modern-day American movie star's page, not to the article on the wife of William Shakespeare. But in no case do "what comes first to mind" or "what is astonishing" have much bearing, either positive or negative, on which topic, if any, actually is the primary topic.

Redirecting to a primary topic

The title of the primary topic article may be different from the ambiguous term. This may happen when the topic is primary for more than one term, when the article covers a wider topical scope, or when it is titled differently according to the naming conventions. When this is the case, the term should redirect to the article (or a section of it). The fact that an article has a different title is not a factor in determining whether a topic is primary. For example:

There are times when a disambiguated article title, such as Apostrophe (punctuation), may be moved to its base name (unqualified title) based on a consensus that this is the primary topic for the unqualified term. When such a page move is made, the redirect template {{R from unnecessary disambiguation}} should be used to categorize the redirect that results from the move under Category:Redirects from unnecessary disambiguation. Using the above example, Apostrophe (punctuation) would redirect as follows (where Apostrophe's topic is primary):

#REDIRECT [[Apostrophe]]

{{Redirect category shell|
{{R from move}}
{{R from unnecessary disambiguation}}
{{R unprintworthy}}

Primary topic when a disambiguation page lists only one existing article by that name

When a disambiguation page lists only one existing article by that name (all other suggested articles are red-linked), the normal rules for primary topic still apply. The existing article is not automatically the primary topic nor is there automatically no primary topic. So:

  • If the article with the blue link is the primary topic, it should be the primary landing page (possibly via a WP:PRIMARYREDIRECT). The disambiguation page should be at a page with the (disambiguation) qualifier.
  • If there is no primary topic, then the disambiguation page should be the primary landing page.
  • On the rare occasions that a red-linked article would be the primary topic, the situation is treated as if there is no primary topic until the red-linked article is written.

Please note, MOS:DABMENTION still applies: any red-linked entry should still have a blue link to an article that covers the redlinked topic.

Disambiguation page or hatnotes?

As discussed above, if an ambiguous term has no primary topic, then that term needs to lead to a disambiguation page. In other words, where no topic is primary, the disambiguation page is placed at the base name.

If a disambiguation page is needed, but one of the other topics is of particular interest, then it may be appropriate to link to it explicitly as well as linking to the disambiguation page. For example, Inflation is about the primary topic—a rise in prices—and a hatnote links to both Inflation (cosmology) and Inflation (disambiguation).

No primary topic

If there are multiple topics (even just two) to which a given title might refer, but there is no primary topic (per the criteria at § Is there a primary topic?), then the base name should lead the reader to the disambiguation page for the term. For example, John Quested is a disambiguation page for the two people by that name who can be found in the encyclopedia:

John Quested may refer to:

Primary topic with only one other topic

If there is a primary topic located at the base name, then the question arises whether to create a disambiguation page, or merely to link to all the other meanings from a hatnote on the primary topic article.

If there are only two topics to which a given title might refer, and one is the primary topic, then a disambiguation page is not needed—it is sufficient to use a hatnote on the primary topic article, pointing to the other article. (This means that readers looking for the second topic are spared the extra navigational step of going through the disambiguation page.)

If an existing disambiguation page does not appear to be needed because there are only two topics for the ambiguous title and one of them is the primary topic, but there could reasonably be other topics ambiguous with the title on Wikipedia now or in the future, an {{about}} hatnote can be used to link to a disambiguation page (either in addition to or instead of a link directly to the other article). At the same time, the {{One other topic}} template should be added to the top of the disambiguation page, which will inform users that the page has only two ambiguous terms, one of them primary; thus it may be deleted if, after a period of time no additional ambiguous topics are found to expand the disambiguation page. The {{One other topic}} template will also list the article in Category:Disambiguation pages containing one non-primary topic, allowing other editors to locate these pages and help in expanding them. If the two-dab page has been expanded to include additional ambiguous topics, {{One other topic}} template should be removed and a direct link in the primary article to the other article may not be needed anymore as a link to the disambiguation page alone may be sufficient.

Primary topic with two or more other topics

If there are two or three other topics, it is still possible to use a hatnote which lists the other topics explicitly, but if this would require too much text (roughly, if the hatnote would extend well over one line on a standard page), then it is better to create a disambiguation page and refer only to that.

Different spelling variants

If the titles of two articles differ only in capitalization, pluralization, spacing, or punctuation (as per WP:DIFFCAPS or WP:PLURALPT), the articles each should contain a hatnote to link to each other: for example, Ice cube and Ice Cube.

Naming the specific topic articles

For disambiguating specific topic pages by using an unambiguous article title, several options are available:

  1. Natural disambiguation. When there is another term (such as Apartment instead of Flat) or more complete name (such as English language instead of English) that is unambiguous, commonly used in English (even without being the most common term), and equally clear, that term is typically the best to use.
  2. Comma-separated disambiguation. Ambiguous geographic names are often disambiguated by adding the name of a higher-level administrative division, separated by a comma, as in Windsor, Berkshire.[c] See Naming conventions (geographic names).
  3. Parenthetical disambiguation. A disambiguating word or phrase can be added in parentheses. The word or phrase in parentheses should be:

Natural disambiguation that is unambiguous, commonly used, and clear is generally preferable to parenthetical disambiguation; for instance, Fan district and hand fan are used instead of Fan (district) and fan (implement). If no unambiguous, commonly used, and clear natural disambiguation is available, another type of disambiguation is used. If there are several possible choices for parenthetical disambiguation, use the same disambiguating phrase already commonly used for other topics within the same class and context, if any. Otherwise, choose whichever is simpler. For example, use "(mythology)" rather than "(mythological figure)".

Naming conventions applicable to certain subject areas are listed in the box to the right; these often contain detailed guidance about how to disambiguate. In particular, for articles about people, see the Disambiguating section in the people naming convention.


To conform to the naming conventions, the phrase in parentheses should be treated just as any other word in a title: normally lowercase, unless it is a proper noun (like a book title) that would appear capitalized even in running text.

For common disambiguation words, see User:Jarry1250/Findings.


Users searching for what turns out to be an ambiguous term may not reach the article they expected. Therefore, any article with an ambiguous title should contain helpful links to alternative Wikipedia articles or disambiguation pages, placed at the top of the article using one or more of the templates shown below.

Disambiguation hatnotes are not article content—they are associated with the title, rather than any article topic content.

In some cases there are multiple templates available, one including and another omitting information about the topic of the article. The shorter hatnote may be chosen if omitting the information is not likely to confuse the reader.

On a primary topic page for a term that has one secondary topic only (no disambiguation page):

  • Type {{about|TOPIC|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}} to produce:
  • Type {{for|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}} to produce:

On a secondary topic page for a term that has one other topic only (no disambiguation page):

  • As above, but consider whether the hatnote is really necessary (see the first of the usage guidelines below).

On a primary topic page that has an associated disambiguation page:

When the primary topic redirects to another page:

  • If there is only one secondary topic, type {{redirect|REDIRECT|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}} on the target page to produce:
  • If there is a disambiguation page, type {{redirect|REDIRECT}} to produce:

Other variations on these templates are available, including templates for specific subjects such as places, numbers, etc. Templates are listed and illustrated at Wikipedia:Hatnotes#Templates.

Usage guidelines

  • It is usually preferable not to add disambiguation hatnotes to a page whose name already clearly distinguishes itself from the generic term. However, for some topics this is a good idea. For example, Treaty of Paris (1796) should include a hatnote pointing to the disambiguation page Treaty of Paris (disambiguation), since many users might not know that there is more than one treaty with this name, and we cannot predict what external search engines will link to. In other cases, such a hatnote is not necessary. For example, Mirror (1975 film) is clearly about one specific movie and not about any of the many other meanings of "Mirror", and most users will know to type Mirror in the search box to find other topics.
  • As noted above, disambiguation hatnotes should be placed at the top of an article, where they are most visible. For alternatives that are related to the article but are not a source of ambiguity, the "See also" section at the end of the article is more appropriate.
  • Do not use piping to change the title of disambiguation entry links. Showing the actual linked entry title avoids confusion. (Piping may be used for formatting or technical reasons; see the Manual of Style exceptions.)
  • Consolidate multiple disambiguation links into as few disambiguation hatnotes as possible.
  • See Wikipedia:Hatnote for other guidelines on the proper use of disambiguation hatnotes.

Disambiguation pages

Combining terms on disambiguation pages

A single disambiguation page may be used to disambiguate a number of similar terms. Sets of terms which are commonly so combined include:

  • Terms that differ only in capitalization, punctuation and diacritic marks. These should almost always share a disambiguation page. For example, the terms Oe, Ōe, OE and O.E. are disambiguated on a single page (Oe).
  • Corresponding singular, plural and possessive forms, or compound words. For example, the terms Eaglenest, Eagle Nest, Eagle's Nest and Eagle Nests all appear at Eagle's Nest, and Flowers (disambiguation) redirects to Flower (disambiguation).
  • Variant spellings. For example, Honor and Honour both appear at Honor (disambiguation).
  • Variant forms of names. For example, Fred Smith also includes persons named Frederick Smith.
  • Terms which differ by the presence or absence of an article (e.g. "a", "an", or "the" in English). For example, Cure (disambiguation) also contains instances of The Cure.

Editorial judgement should be used in deciding whether to combine terms in the ways described above. If a combined disambiguation page would be inconveniently long, it may be better to split the disambiguation page into separate pages.

When a combined disambiguation page is used, redirects to it (or hatnotes, as appropriate) should be set up from all the terms involved.

Naming the disambiguation page

The title of a disambiguation page is the ambiguous term itself, provided there is no primary topic for that term. If there is a primary topic, then the tag "(disambiguation)" is added to the name of the disambiguation page, as in Jupiter (disambiguation).

When a disambiguation page combines several similar terms, one of them must be selected as the title for the page (with the "(disambiguation)" tag added if a primary topic exists for that term); the choice should be made in line with the following principles:

  • A word is preferred to an abbreviation, for example Arm (disambiguation) over ARM.
  • When no word can be formed, all capitals is preferred. For example, the disambiguation page for "ddb" is DDB, not "Ddb".
  • English spelling is preferred to that of non-English languages.
  • Singulars are preferred to plurals.
  • The simplest form of the term is preferred to those containing punctuation, diacritics and articles; for example SA is preferred to S.A., and Shadow (disambiguation) is preferred to The Shadow (disambiguation).
  • The spelling that reflects the majority of items on the page is preferred to less common alternatives.

In addition, when a disambiguation page exists at the ambiguous term, there should also be a redirect to it from the "(disambiguation)" title; in other words, if "Term ABC" is a disambiguation page, a redirect from "Term ABC (disambiguation)" should be created if it does not already exist. This type of redirect is used to indicate any intentional links to the disambiguation page, to distinguish them from accidental or erroneous incoming links that should be disambiguated to the appropriate article.

Page style

Each disambiguation page comprises a list (or multiple lists, for multiple senses of the term in question) of similarly titled links.

  • Link to the primary topic (if there is one):
    A school is an institution for learning.
  • Start each list with a short introductory sentence fragment with the title in bold, and ending with a colon. For example:
    Blockbuster may refer to:
  • Try to start each entry in the list with a link to the target page, unless the link provided gives context rather than a synonymous meaning.
  • Each bulleted entry should have a navigable (blue) link, normally as the entry itself (see the previous bullet), or in the description if the entry is red-linked or unlinked.
    • Rarely should a bulleted entry have more than one navigable link; including more than one link can confuse the reader.
  • Do not pipe the names of the links to the articles being listed.[d] (See exceptions.)
  • Entries are sentence fragments; do not end them with periods or other punctuation.

Include the template {{disambiguation}} (or another disambiguation template, such as {{Geodis}} or {{Hndis}}) at the bottom as an indicator of the page's status. For more information, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages#The disambiguation notice and categorization.

For prime examples of disambiguation pages, see Lift and Aurora (disambiguation).

What not to include

Long descriptions and multimedia

The purpose of a disambiguation page is to direct a reader seeking information on a topic to the right page. It is common to add a little additional information (which may make reference to the full article unnecessary). For example, the disambiguation page for Roosevelt contains the entry "Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), 32nd U.S. president". On the other hand, "Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), US president 1933–1945, Democratic Party, a central figure in world events, creator of the New Deal, in a wheelchair from polio since 1921, died in office" would be inappropriate; it summarises the article rather than merely disambiguating.

Images are discouraged unless they aid in selecting between articles on the particular search term in question. See: MOS:DABIMG.

Dictionary definitions

A disambiguation page is not a list of dictionary definitions. A short description of the common general meaning of a word can be appropriate for helping the reader determine context. Otherwise, there are templates for linking the reader to Wiktionary, the wiki dictionary; see Template:Wiktionary. It is also not an interlanguage dictionary.

Partial title matches

A disambiguation page is not a search index. A link to an article title that merely contains part of the disambiguation page title, or a link that includes the page title in a longer proper name, where there is no significant risk of confusion between them, is considered a partial title match, and should not be included. For example, Louisville Zoo is not included at Zoo (disambiguation) because people outside Louisville would not readily identify it as the "Zoo", and including all zoos in the world in the disambiguation page is impractical (though List of zoos is listed in the "See also" section). Add a link only if the article's subject (or the relevant subtopic thereof) could plausibly be referred to by essentially the same name as the disambiguated term in a sufficiently generic context—regardless of the article's title. For instance, the Mississippi River article could not feasibly be titled Mississippi, since that name is used by the US state article, but it is included at Mississippi (disambiguation) because its subject is often called "the Mississippi".

Placenames are often divided between a specific and generic part, for example North Carolina (where "Carolina" is the specific, and "North" the generic part). Common generics are compass points, upper/lower, old/new, big/small, etc. It is entirely proper to include such placenames in disambiguation pages with the specific title (North Carolina is properly listed at Carolina (disambiguation)); but only exceptionally under the generic title: Kingston upon Hull is properly listed at Hull (disambiguation)[e] but we do not expect to see North Carolina in North (disambiguation), just as we do not expect to see Mississippi River in River (disambiguation)).

Instead of listing partial title matches, consider adding the {{look from}} or {{intitle}} templates in the "See also" section, which link to all articles starting with or containing a particular term, respectively.

Lists of names

To prevent disambiguation pages from getting too long, articles on people should be listed at the disambiguation page for their given name or surname only if they are reasonably well known by it. We reasonably expect to see Abraham Lincoln at Lincoln (disambiguation), but very few sources would refer to the waltz composer Harry J. Lincoln by an unqualified "Lincoln", so he is listed only at the Lincoln (surname) anthroponymy article. This is even more widespread for first names—many highly notable people are called Herb, but typing in Herb gets you an article on plants. Herb (disambiguation) does not even list any people named "Herb", but instead links to Herb (surname) and Herb (given name), where articles on people named "Herb" are listed. Consensus among editors determines if an article should be listed on the disambiguation page.

Related subjects

Include articles only if the term being disambiguated is actually described in the target article. For example, a use of the term set is discussed in the article on volleyball, so Set (disambiguation) legitimately includes an entry for "Set, a team's second contact with the ball in volleyball".

Abbreviations, initials and acronyms

Do not add articles to abbreviation or acronym disambiguation pages unless the target article includes the acronym or abbreviation—we are resolving an ambiguity, not making yet another dictionary of abbreviations. If an abbreviation is verifiable, but not mentioned in the target article, consider adding it to the target article and then adding the entry to the disambiguation page. In particular, do not include people and other things simply because of their initials, unless those initials have been widely used. John Fitzgerald Kennedy is widely known as JFK and this is discussed in the article, so the initials are appropriately disambiguated; however, Marilyn Monroe was never commonly known as "MM", nor was A. A. Milne known as either "AA" or "AAM". Omit descriptions that are obvious from the title, like (for PNP): "Philippine National Police, the national police force of the Republic of the Philippines".

Sister projects

Disambiguation entries can, under certain circumstances, be created for articles that exist in a Wikipedia in another language.[f] Links to Wiktionary may be appropriate in some contexts. Entries where the content is on any other sister project, like Wikidata or Wikivoyage, should not be created.


Do not include references in disambiguation pages; disambiguation pages are not articles. Incorporate references into the articles linked from the disambiguation page, as needed.

External links

Do not include external links, either as entries or in descriptions. Disambiguation pages disambiguate Wikipedia articles, not the World Wide Web. To note URLs that might be helpful in the future, include them on the talk page.


Before constructing a new disambiguation page, determine a specific topic name for all existing pages, and the name for the disambiguation page. Move any page with a conflicting title (e.g. the same exact title) to its more specific name. Use the What links here list for the moved page to update pages that link to that page.


If an article has been moved to make way for the disambiguation page, use the What links here list of the moved page to access the redirect page created by the move, and replace that redirect page with the new disambiguation page.

Use the new disambiguation page to find and replace (see Table of keyboard shortcuts#Text editing) any existing disambiguation links in existing pages with a link to the new disambiguation page.

Note that the standard link templates will actually point to a Term XYZ (disambiguation) version of the new name. Use the red-link on an existing page to create a redirect page marked with the {{R to disambiguation page}} template.

For example, Term XYZ (disambiguation) could be redirected to the new disambiguation page Term XYZ as follows:


{{Redirect category shell|
{{R to disambiguation page}}


Disambiguation pages are not articles and should not be categorized as such. Article categories should lead readers to relevant articles; disambiguation pages should be placed in disambiguation categories only. Some categories are automatically provided by use of the {{disambiguation}} template and parameters (geo, surname, etc.). Hidden categories may appear due to maintenance or other tags and templates, but other explicit categories (such as "Category:Mountains of Fooland") should not be used on disambiguation pages. When a disambiguation page includes a list of name-holders (in cases where the separate anthroponymy list article has not yet been created), explicit categories such as "Category:Fooish surnames" are acceptable on the disambiguation page until the anthroponymy article is split from the disambiguation page.


Disambiguation pages can be listed for discussion at Articles for deletion. For uncontroversial cases, the simpler process of Proposed deletion is also an option. Disambiguation pages with no bluelinked entries, and those ending with (disambiguation) with only one bluelinked entry, can be summarily deleted using speedy deletion criterion G14.[g]


Double disambiguation

A double disambiguation is an entry on a disambiguation page pointing to a more specifically named disambiguation page, rather than to an article. This kind of disambiguation is relatively rare on Wikipedia. In some cases, entries from the secondary page can be transcluded onto the primary disambiguation page with {{transclude list}}.

For example, Montgomery is a disambiguation page that includes a link to Montgomery County, a secondary disambiguation page. Because the intended target page is also a disambiguation page, the link is to "Montgomery County (disambiguation)" rather than directly to "Montgomery County". There are two reasons for this: One is so the page will not show up as an error needing to be fixed, and the other is so our readers know it is a link to a disambiguation page (see § Links to disambiguation pages for further information on creating intentional links to disambiguation pages).

Additionally, a page title with two parenthetical disambiguations—e.g. X (disambiguation) (disambiguation)—is malformed.

Incomplete disambiguation

Usually, a qualified title that is still ambiguous has no primary topic, and therefore should redirect to the disambiguation page (or to a section of it). This aids navigation and helps editors avoid accidentally creating new articles under the still-ambiguous title. Such redirects should be marked with {{R from incomplete disambiguation}} (which places them under Category:Redirects from incomplete disambiguation). For example, Aurora (album) is a redirect:

#REDIRECT [[Aurora (disambiguation)#Albums]]

{{Rcat shell|
{{R from incomplete disambiguation}}
{{R to section}}

In some cases, it may be more appropriate to redirect readers to a list rather than a disambiguation page. For example, Cleveland (NFL) should not be a disambiguation page, but should instead redirect to List of Cleveland sports teams#Football.

In individual cases consensus may determine that a parenthetically disambiguated title that is still ambiguous has a primary topic, but the threshold for identifying a primary topic for such titles is higher than for a title without parenthetical disambiguation. As with any other term with a primary topic, it should either be the title of the article for that topic or redirect to it. See List of partially disambiguated article titles.

To corresponding disambiguation pages on other Wikipedias

A disambiguation page on the English Wikipedia should be connected to the corresponding disambiguation pages in other-language Wikipedias. In the default interface, these will be linked in a drop-down menu at the top (or, if using the pre-2022 settings, in Help:Interlanguage links § the sidebar). Such links are normally handled at Wikidata, which has guidelines for appropriate linking.[h]

Links to disambiguated topics

Links to disambiguation pages may be intentional (see below), but in many cases they are not. If a link to a disambiguation page is intended for one or another of the topics with the ambiguous name, it should be changed to link to the appropriate article. The Wikipedia:Disambiguation pages with links (DPL) project tracks such links and lists tools and practical suggestions for fixing them.

Links previously pointing to an article may suddenly become links to a disambiguation page. This can happen, for example, when a disambiguation page is created over a redirect, when one is moved to a title formerly occupied by an article, or when a redirect is retargeted from an article to a disambiguation page. The resulting links will need to be corrected. For a handful of links, this can be done by the editors who create such disambiguation pages or propose such moves or redirect changes, or by those who carry them out. For changes with larger impacts, a task force may be needed.[i]

Links to disambiguation pages

Links to disambiguation pages from mainspace are typically errors. In order to find and fix those errors, disambiguators generate reports of links needing to be checked and fixed. Because these reports cannot distinguish cases where an editor has made such a link with the intent to point to the disambiguation page, the community has adopted the standard of routing all intentional disambiguation links in mainspace through "Foo (disambiguation)" redirects. This makes it clear that such links are intended to point to the disambiguation page.

For example:

  • In text or in a "See also" section of an article that is not itself a disambiguation page:
    • Incorrect: There are many places named [[Springfield]]
    • Correct: There are many places named [[Springfield (disambiguation)|Springfield]]
  • On a disambiguation page, an intentional link to another disambiguation page that does not contain "(disambiguation)" in the title:
    • Incorrect: [[Springfield]]
    • Incorrect: [[Springfield (disambiguation)|Springfield]]
    • Incorrect: [[Springfield|Springfield (disambiguation)]]
    • Correct: [[Springfield (disambiguation)]]
  • In a hatnote:
    • Incorrect: {{other uses|Springfield}}
    • Correct: {{other uses|Springfield (disambiguation)}}
    • Correct: {{other uses|Springfield (disambiguation){{!}}Springfield}}[j]

It may be necessary to create the redirect ("Springfield (disambiguation)" in these examples) if it does not already exist. This is described below.

When to link to a disambiguation page

With few exceptions, creating links to disambiguation pages is erroneous. Links should instead point to a relevant article. The purpose of a disambiguation page is to give a list of articles that is likely to include what a reader is looking for when they have typed an ambiguous term into the search box. Disambiguation pages are not articles and so should not be tagged as orphans per the Orphan criteria.

The exceptions, when an intentional link to a disambiguation page is appropriate, are:

How to link to a disambiguation page

To link to a disambiguation page (rather than to a page whose topic is a specific meaning), link to the title that includes the text "(disambiguation)", even if that is a redirect—for example, link to the redirect Springfield (disambiguation) rather than the target page at "Springfield".

  • If the redirect does not yet exist, create it and tag it with {{R to disambiguation page}}.
  • If you are linking within a template, such as a hatnote template, you can still use pipe syntax so that the link does not show the new qualifier. To do this, use the {{!}} character-substitution magic word.

This helps distinguish accidental links to the disambiguation page from intentional ones. (For use in navboxes, see the {{D'}} template.) There is nothing wrong with linking to a redirect instead of linking directly to the disambiguation page; redirects are "cheap" and are basically transparent to the reader.

Redirects to disambiguation pages

Valid causes for redirecting to a disambiguation page include:

  • Incomplete disambiguation (see above)
  • Redirects from misspellings: Britian redirects to the "Britain" disambiguation page.
  • Redirects from alternative spellings if separate disambiguation pages are not warranted: Türk redirects to the Turk disambiguation page.
  • Redirects from variations in capitalisation, word separation, or punctuation, if separate disambiguation pages are not warranted: Bullet Proof redirects to "Bulletproof (disambiguation)".

The rule about linking through a "(disambiguation)" redirect does not apply to redirects to disambiguation pages: Do not create a double redirect, but make a redirect to the disambiguation page directly (thus Bill Cox, a redirect from an alternative name, redirects to the disambiguation page and does not go through the redirect William Cox (disambiguation)). Although it is permissible for this redirect to be made, it generally should not be linked to in an article for the same reasons direct links to disambiguation pages are discouraged.

See Category:Redirects to disambiguation pages.

Visualizing links to disambiguation pages

Links to disambiguation pages can be displayed in orange in the settings under "Gadgets" by checking "Display links to disambiguation pages in orange".

See also


  1. ^ See Google Ngram Viewer results for York/New York and York is/New York is.
  2. ^ US cities (such as Anaheim, California) are not considered as partial title matches when deciding whether they are the primary topic for the base name ("Anaheim"). They are considered full title matches for primary redirect concern; the only reason that many US city articles are located at the elongated title is the Wikipedia guideline to keep state names in titles for virtually all US cities and counties.
  3. ^ In running prose, it is more common in British and some other Commonwealth English varieties to use a "Windsor in Berkshire" pattern, while "Windsor, Ontario," is more common in North American English. This dialectal distinction does not apply to article titles, which follow consistent, prescribed patterns.
  4. ^ Communicating the actual titles of entries at variance with the base title one might expect—were the entries not ambiguous with each other—is integral to the purpose of a DAB page.
  5. ^ Kingston upon Hull is an exception in that – unlike most places with a generic modifier like Newcastle upon Tyne being shortened to "Newcastle" and thus not appearing at Tyne (disambiguation) – Kingston upon Hull is far more commonly shortened to "Hull".
  6. ^ This was last discussed in 2020. Such an entry can be formatted using {{interlanguage link}} and may look something like that: There is no agreement on the conditions under which such links are acceptable.
  7. ^ Last discussed in 2021. Relevant AfD and PRODs are automatically listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Disambiguation/Article alerts. AfDs are also usually added to Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Disambiguations. G14 nominations appear in Category:Candidates for speedy deletion as unnecessary disambiguation pages.
  8. ^ Most recently discussed in 2022.
  9. ^ The present form of this guideline dates to December 2020, and is the result of an earlier discussion. Previously, the text implied that closers of RM discussions should fix any resultant dablinks, but there was broad agreement against such a strong requirement.
  10. ^ This is an example of how to generate a link without displaying "(disambiguation)", when the link redirects to a page title without "(disambiguation)".

External links