The hyphen is dying, gasping and wheezing its way toward a slow and painful death, a victim of unfeeling technology and cruel public whim. Or so a Yahoo News wire story would have you believe.
“About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary,” according to the story re-run from the Reuters news service.
Fig leaf, hobby horse, ice cream, pin money, pot belly, test tube and water bed have all lost their hyphens and are now two-word compounds. Bumblebee, chickpea, crybaby, leapfrog, logjam, lowlife, pigeonhole, touchline and waterborne have lost their hyphens to become single words.