We provide fun, challenge and adventure to
over 400,000 girls and boys across the UK
a a a  A A
Disclosures Compass POL Print Centre

Style guide: R


racial terminology – do not use ‘ethnic’ to mean black or Asian people.

The term Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) generally refers to people who have migrated into the UK from overseas – south-east Asia, India, Pakistan and Caribbean but also from Ireland.
Avoid the word ‘immigrant’, which is very offensive to many black and Asian people, not only because it is often incorrectly used to describe people who were born in Britain, but also because it has been used negatively for so many years.

The ethnic minority population in the UK (around 8%) comprises first, second and now third generation people.

Those coming into the UK may be from a whole variety of countries and of varied ethnicity – Eastern Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The words ‘black’ and ‘Asian’ should not be used as nouns, but adjectives: black people rather than ‘blacks’, an Asian woman rather than ‘an Asian’, and so on.

Say African-Caribbean rather than Afro-Caribbean

See also diversity dictionary definition of racism

rack your brain, racked with guilt

Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, 5 Live, 6 Music, BBC7

Rainbows are for girls from five (four in Northern Ireland) to seven, at which point they may become Brownies

raincoat, rainfall, rainproof

Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims

re or re-? The re prefix takes a hyphen when the following word begins with either an ‘e’ or ‘u’ (not pronounced as ‘yu’): re-examine, re-enter, re-urge

It does not take a hyphen when the following word begins with any consonant, ‘a’, ‘i’, ‘o’ or ‘u’ (pronounced as ‘yu’): reconsider, rearrange, reiterate, reinstate, reorder, reuse

BUT – there are exceptions to this rule, principally when the addition of the prefix could cause confusion with another word: re-sign, re-cover, re-creation, re-form all mean different things to resign, recover, recreation and reform. Take care.

Red Cross, Red Crescent


regalia means ‘of royalty’ so any reference to ‘royal regalia’ is an unnecessary repetition

regard as in ‘with regard to’ should always be singular

Region as in a Scouting Region is upper case; lower case for other regions. See Areas/Counties/Regions/Districts

Regional Adviser 

Regional Commissioner

register office not registry office

Religious Policy - upper case when Scouting policy

repellent – although ‘repellant’ with an ‘a’ is technically correct for usage as a noun, it is acceptable to use ‘repellent’ with an ‘e’ for all instances.

Rev, the – at first mention. See Personal titles

ricochet, ricocheted, ricocheting

riffle is to flick through a book or magazine; often incorrectly written as rifle

ringfence, ringtone


Roles see job titles

Rollerblade is a trademark. Say inline skating instead

rollercoaster is one word

Roman Catholic – It is usually all right to shorten to Catholic if used as a noun. However be aware that Anglicans (for example) consider themselves to belong to the ‘holy, catholic and apostolic church’ and therefore prefer to refer to Catholics as Roman Catholics.

Be aware though that the term ‘Roman’ has been used negatively in Northern Ireland.

roofs is the plural of roof

routeing is putting something on a route (a bus for example) whereas routing is winning a battle decisively

Royal Botanic Garden is in Edinburgh, not to be confused with The Royal Botanic Gardens/Kew Gardens in London

royal family is lower case

Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines




© Copyright The Scout Association 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Charity Numbers 306101 (England and Wales) and SC038437 (Scotland).
Registered address: The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, England E4 7QW