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I am referring to the style of home created when two single trailers are bolted together and lived in as a single unit.

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You can find answers to such questions by simply looking in a dictionary. If you still can't find an answer, add a note stating what you looked up etc. –  coleopterist Aug 2 '12 at 11:17
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closed as general reference by tchrist, Matt Эллен, Mahnax, kiamlaluno, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Aug 26 '12 at 4:15

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

Both double-wide and doublewide are acceptable. However, it is, IMHO, better to stick to the hyphenated option.

"Double wide" is incorrect. The rules/guidelines of hyphenation are explained in this excellent answer.

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It can't be a double wide trailer because modifiers that come before nouns must be single words (see John Lawler on the "eleven-year-old boy rule").

Google Ngram Viewer suggests that double-wide trailer is the most common spelling, but doublewide trailer is also in use.

Google Ngram Viewer for double - wide trailer,doublewide trailer

Compound terms often start out hyphenated, but as people become familiar and start to treat the term as a unit, the hyphen disappears. For example, ball-point pen, initially the more common spelling, was overtaken by ballpoint pen around 1975:

Google Ngram Viewer for ball - point pen,ballpoint pen

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British English doesn't generally use double with an adjective in this way, it's normally a noun (or a past participle like double-fronted).

Double-width would be correct. Double is always† hyphenated when compounded like this, and *doublewidth is wrong.

† Except in neologisms like doublethink.

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@GarethRees That's exactly why I prefaced my answer with "British English"; from your link: "A double wide is a very common phrase in American English though, apparently, not in UK English." –  Andrew Leach Aug 2 '12 at 11:54
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