February 23, 2015

3D or 3-D or 3d?

In this post, we dive into Google Books Ngram Viewer to learn a little more about the 3D phenomeon. Ngram viewer does a clever job of tracking words, phrases, or letter combinations in books digitized by Google and giving us some unique insights on language and trends. These digital corpora are updated yearly, and currently Ngram Viewer houses more than five million books (through 2012).

Let’s begin by using Ngram Viewer to compare the frequency of use for the terms 3D and 3-D—appearing in books (fiction and non-fiction) over time. This will provide interesting insight about contemporary cultural memes (see interactive charts below):

3D versus 3-D

As one can see, based on a snapshot of fiction and non-fiction books, “3D” is rapidly replacing “3-D” as a norm. 

Similarly, “3D is also replacing the lower case “3d” in our modern lexicon, as shown below:

3D versus 3d

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