An entry begins with the headword, given in large font at the top of the entry. The headword represents the central form of the word which is the subject of the entry. The headword is usually the most common singular form of the word, even if one or more of the plural forms appears to be more widely used.

The headword may consist of an acronym, hyphenated words, words separated by a space, or a phrase. The initial letter is not capitalized, unless the word normally has an initial capital.

ANCYL, noun . . . The youth organization of the ANC
now-now, adverb . . . 1. In the immediate past, ‘a moment ago’
Dom Pedro, noun phrase . . . A drink made by blending ice cream (and sometimes cream) with whisky
alles sal regkom, phrase . . . ‘All will be well’, an optimistic, consolatory, or now often ironical saying

If two spelling forms enjoy similar support, they may share headword status.

kiep, kiepie, noun . . . 1. a. In the language of children: a chicken
peri-peri, piri-piri, adjective and noun . . . A. adjective Of or pertaining to hot red chilli seasoning

In cases where two or more headwords have the same spelling and the same part of speech, superscript numerals are used for reference purposes.

queen, noun1 . . . A barren female mammal, particularly, a barren domestic cow
queen, noun2 . . . Elliptical for shebeen queen
dop, verb1 . . . a. intransitive. To fail
dop, verb2 . . . a. intransitive. To drink

The double bar symbol precedes terms not fully assimilated into South African English.

‖karwats, noun . . . A short-handled riding whip; a quirt
‖geelhout, noun . . . yellowwood