I have a term called time out which refers to the maximum amount of time the program will wait for a response, after which it will close the connection. I do not know how to spell it. There is the choice of timeout as a single word, time out as two words, and time-out. which one is more correct in the British English academic writing style?

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    You seem to be extending the Full Oxford English dictionary definition timeout (Computing and Electronics) A cancellation or pausing of an operation which occurs automatically after a preset time interval, esp. if a particular signal is not detected to mean the duration of inactivity that triggers the cancellation. I doubt "British English academic writing style" would have much to say about such domain-specific technical usages, but I'm sure timeout threshold [value] would be much more common orthography than the hyphenated or two-word alternatives there. Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


As a verb I would use two words, this allows for the verb endings to be added easily.

My connection timed out after 30 seconds.

As a noun I would use a compound word:

We should increase the timeout to 45 seconds.

Using a hyphen would be an entirely acceptable alternative.

I agree. A 30-second time-out is too short.

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