The slaughter of 16,000 hyphens

We can apparently blame the Interwebs for the OED's mass killing. "People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for." And: "The hyphen is seen as messy looking and old-fashioned." There's always been a tendency for two words to "date" -- the hyphen as chaperone -- and then marry, becoming one word. But interesting to me are the words that have "broken up": water-bed is now water bed, and ice-cream is now ice cream.

And it's true, they do seem old-fashioned (oldfashioned? old fashioned?). Consider the Onion headline from 100 years ago: Will the Steam Engine Replace the China-Man?

Let me be the first to say: I for one welcome our new antihyphen overlords.


El Gordo de Amore said...

Take that, Emily Dickinson!

Vampiro said...

As someone who has spent far too much of his life banging his forehead against sections 7.82-7.90 of the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition)--I welcome the eradication of those little match-making bastards!