'King-size' or 'King-sized'?

Size or sized? Find out which one you should use. 

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read


Last week in the sponsor message, you heard me talk about a “king-size” mattress from Casper, and that reminded me that a listener named Louie had asked me whether he should write about small and mid-size businesses or small and mid-sized businesses.

The short answer is that the better choice is size, not sized—king-size and mid-sizealthough some dictionaries list king-sized and mid-sized as alternatives.

Should You Hyphenate ‘King-Size and “Mid-Size’?

As is often the case with hyphens, the answer isn’t as clear—king-size usually appears hyphenated, but mid-size is routinely seen with and without a hyphen, and some dictionaries show it hyphenated and others don’t. Hyphenate king-size, and just decide which way you like to write mid-size, put it in your style guide, and be consistent.

Advertising Helped Establish Words Such as ‘King-Size and ‘Mid-Size

Mad Men fans will likely be as surprised and intrigued as I was to discover that, although the Oxford English Dictionary has one example of king-size from the early 1800s, it looks as if the term really only took hold once it appeared in Regent cigarette ads in the early 1940s. King-size Regent cigarettes fixed the term king-size in our modern vocabulary. Mattress makers expanded the regal universe to include queen-size in the late 1950s. Ads for mid-size cars may have also helped establish that term in American English, although mid-size did occasionally appear earlier in other contexts.

Bedroom interior. Provance. 3d render image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.