September 30, 2007

The new version of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has done away with 16, 000 hyphenated words.

As Reuters reports, new communication and stylistic patterns have rendered the use of the “old fashioned” hyphen, a nuisance. Thus, ice-cream becomes ice cream, bumble-bee becomes bumblebee, and cry-baby becomes crybaby.

But this is not the end of the unpopular punctuation mark. The new changes affect mostly compound nouns, but the hyphen will still be used for compound adjectives.

Also, now it’s spelled cafe, not café; raccoon, not racoon; and fetus, not foetus (was it ever?).

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