Questions about words that are created by combining two or more other words together.

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6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we call snail mail “snail mail”?

Why do we call snail mail "snail mail"? So by default mail will refer to email?
3
votes
3answers
165 views

13 Month Old or 13-Month-Old? [duplicate]

I have just installed Grammarly and it showed up something which i am not sure of. It corrected '13 month old' to '13-month-old'. The context is I ask because my 13-month-old God daughter ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Blogpost vs. blog post [duplicate]

Have I written a blogpost or a blog post? I've seen both forms used but am not sure which is the "correct" one, if there's any.
1
vote
2answers
78 views

Slashes for hyphens in compound modifiers

Take the phrase "a joint FBI-SFPD task force" for example. According to my boss, a slash can stand in for the hyphen. I tend to disagree. Is this grammatically correct? Stylistically acceptable?
0
votes
1answer
27 views

How can one decide whether to use the compound form of a word when the one- or two-word versions are acceptable? [duplicate]

This question is an attempt to find an abstract answer to every "one word or two?" discussion. My problem is exemplified by this scenario: My text editor's spellchecker recently corrected me on my ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

usage of separable and inseparable words [duplicate]

Words like wheelbarrow and nailbrush are used mingled, the wheel goes with barrow in inseparable form. On the other hand, words like tank top and high heels as it sounds ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Is it correct to say peg location instead of peg's location? [closed]

So I was reading "Solitaire" rules and a few times it was written "peg location", isn't it correct to say "peg's location"? Also why do people say "game score" instead of "game's score"
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Word meaning “of a single word”, or, “word” as an adjective

I am trying to find a term to describe something as being comprised of a single word, similar to how the term monosyllabic describes something as being of a single syllable. Does such a term exist? Or ...
0
votes
0answers
79 views

What is the correct way to write the word “back-end”? [duplicate]

Back-end and front-end are common technical terms nowadays. Traditionally, they are written with a hyphen "back-end". Is there a rule in the English language that dictates this to be a correct way to ...
9
votes
4answers
35k views

Do I keep myself “up-to-date” or “up to date” on something?

Question is quite straightforward. I want to say that "I keep myself up-to-date on the latest technology". Or is it better "I keep myself up to date with the latest technology"?
1
vote
3answers
234 views

Possessive form (of) with compound nouns

This is a main difference between the personality of good people and bad people. Is the sentence comparing personality of good people and personality of bad people? or comparing personality of ...
5
votes
3answers
395 views

Are there rules for constructing portmanteaux?

Lewis Carroll popularized the use and creation of (what may be considered to be) a special form of compound or conjoined words. I propose that these are different than other compound words (e.g., per ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Listing multiple compound words

How do I list multiple things that are compound words? In my own language I'm used to writing these lists like this: "I kicked foot-, basket-, and volleyball" The sentence is supposed to mean that ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is “forward slash” not spelled “forwardslash”?

The phrase "forward slash" contains a space, while its equivalent "backslash" does not. This seems inconsistent; should "forwardslash" not be a valid word? From Wikipedia I discovered that slash, ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

How should a multiple word noun be used in a compound adjective?

I would like to use a noun made of multiple words (like particle board, Mount Everest, or windscreen wiper) in a compound adjective with a hyphen. But I don't know how to hyphenate such a ...
6
votes
8answers
558 views

Compound noun with completely different meaning

I am looking for a compound noun that has a meaning that is completely (or very) different from the words it is derived from. This because I want to give an example of how powerful the human brain is ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

Open non-compositional compound nouns

Closely related to my other question, I am searching for an open/spaced compound noun for which the following properties hold: Its constituents have a well-known association. Such as "honey" and ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Compound Adjectives and -ed

A colleague asked me this question, and I couldn't come up with an answer that satisfied him, so I'm wondering if anyone can help: Why does a man with a short temper become a short-tempered man? In ...
1
vote
1answer
245 views

Would “pentaminutely” reflect an event that occurs every five minutes?

Would the compound pentaminutely (from penta- and minutely) be correct in describing an event that occurs every five-minutes? Or is there a better word? Edit: For clarity, I'm looking to name an ...
0
votes
0answers
75 views

Working-level knowledge

What does "working-level knowledge" mean? I'm guessing it means that you're not an expert in something but you have sufficient knowledge of the subject to "get by". Context, from Stephane Chazelas ...
1
vote
2answers
244 views

Timestep, time step, time-step: Which variant to use?

I am writing a piece on integration of differential equations. One of the words that I have to use frequently is "timestep" (however it is written), i.e. a step forward in the "simulated" time. There ...
3
votes
1answer
43 views

touchscreen, touch-screen, touch screen? Merriam-Webster and Oxford disagree

I have searched but cannot find a definite answer on the correct to write "touch screen". Merriam-Webster says touch screen. Oxford says touchscreen. And random people around the internet say ...
1
vote
3answers
135 views

Nonsmoking or Non-smoking

Would one write that someone is “a nonsmoking so-and-so” or “a non-smoking so-and-so”? I'm not sure if the hyphen is necessary or superfluous.
81
votes
9answers
30k views

“Username”, “user name” or “user-name”

In computer science, you should have a username or a user name or a user-name and a password to be able to log into the system. Which one is the correct spelling?
0
votes
3answers
699 views

Why is endpoint a word while startpoint is not?

My text editor complains when I type 'startpoint' and does not complain when I type 'endpoint'. Why does this difference exist and what should I use for each?
0
votes
2answers
180 views

What does “The computer programmer says the glass is full-empty” mean?

There is a famous expression: The glass is half empty or half full, depending on whether you are a pessimist or optimist. There is a twist on this theme for computer programmers The computer ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Can I create adjectives with -type suffix?

In a document, I define two different types of memory accesses (but it could be anything else): We distinguish between two types of memory accesses: mem1 accesses and mem2 accesses because they ...
24
votes
7answers
3k views

Is a lengthy combination of words with hyphens like “the worst not-technically-in-a-recession year in American history” a new fashion of writing?

I found a hyphenated word , “not-technically–in-a-recession” in the sentence of September 28 New York Times’ article titled “Why Obama Is Winning,” written by co-ed columnist, Ross Douthat. It reads: ...
3
votes
3answers
209 views

Plural of “coming out?”

As "coming out of the closet" has become ubiquitous in recent years, what would the plural be? Would it follow the rule of "goings-on" or be a hyphenated "coming-outs" or something else entirely?
1
vote
4answers
949 views

Apartment building - flat building?

Does anyone in the UK say flat building? I live in the US, mind, so I have no clue. It sounds a bit funny saying that. Do they say apartment building instead, maybe? Or is there another word for a ...
16
votes
4answers
30k views

“Real time”, “real-time” or “realtime”

Which of real time, real-time and realtime is correct when you are talking about seeing something as it happens?
0
votes
1answer
78 views

Intermediate level student or intermediate-level student?

Intermediate level student or intermediate-level student? Which one is more correct/preferable?
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Which word is most correct in this case: re-settle or resettle?

In reference to the word settle as it pertains to the specific definition: Determine; decide on: There is some debate internally on whether to use the word resettle which only has one ...
1
vote
5answers
3k views

What word to choose as the opposite of “self-aware”?

What word would describe the quality of not being self-aware? unselfaware unself-aware un-selfaware un-self-aware non-self-aware I am aware that it is allowed to have multiple hyphens in a word. ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

OK to use “capstone” as an adjective?

The term "capstone project" is common. Google tells me there's also something called "Capstone Classroom." The dictionary -- whatever dictionary you might look in -- says "capstone" is only ever a ...
6
votes
2answers
60 views

what is the technical word for a “de-compounded” phrase

I am curious as to what the technical term for "de-compounding" a word is. For example, if I were to change the word "bookstore," and change it into the phrase, "store of books," what would that ...
11
votes
8answers
1k views

What does the “shed” in “watershed” mean?

It seems like a kind of house; if it is, I cannot grasp the meaning of watershed.
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Compounds and Phrases - differences

What are differences of compounds and phrases and what do they have in common? I know there is the "nuclear stress rule" (phrasal stress on the last word of phrase) and the "compound stress rule" ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

Words containing 2 overlapping standalone words [closed]

I'm looking for words that contain at least two other overlapping words. Word category or origin do not matter (in particular, constituent and containing terms may differ in these regards). Of course, ...
1
vote
1answer
169 views

What's the difference between 'single-hand' and 'single-handed'?

What's the difference between 'single-hand' and 'single-handed'? And why? Is meaning of 'single-hand' a subset of 'single-handed'?
1
vote
1answer
75 views

Why does pluralization of compound words typically occur in the middle as opposed to the end of the word?

As I understand, correct plural versions of passerby and attorney general become passersby and attorneys general. But why? With passerby, the the preposition "by" has been combined with the noun ...
12
votes
3answers
534 views

Term for words like Snowmageddon, Nipplegate and even cheeseburger?

Is there a term for words like Snowmageddon, Nipplegate and even cheeseburger? I know they're portmanteaus (or portmanteaux), but they seem to belong to a special class of portmanteau. In the title ...
0
votes
1answer
208 views

codebase or code base?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codebase Which is the more canonized version? canonized, not cannonized (although I'm certainly interested in anything that has been cannonized!)
0
votes
1answer
73 views

relative clause with compound antecedent

I wonder what is the general way to create a relative clause modifying a compound antecedent? For example: This data is from many proof of concept environments and production environments that ...
0
votes
2answers
107 views

What is the correct hyphenation of “human skin tissue emulating gel”?

A type of gel designed to emulate human skin tissue. So, is this a "human skin tissue–emulating gel" (en dash)? Or, is it a "human-skin-tissue-emulating gel" (all hyphens)? Does anyone know the ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

One word for “a one-eyed person”

I've given an English children's story to a small group of Italian kids to read and perform. The story is about a boy who changes into a cat and makes friends with a one-eyed next-door neighbour; a ...
2
votes
3answers
145 views

Is “Thrashing Win” an oxymoron?

According to me, a "crushing defeat" and a "thrashing win" are opposites. I have always seen the usage of these two terms in sports. But I have seldom seen the usage of "thrashing defeat". Is ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there another word for a “large family” or “small family”?

I'm searching for another, perhaps more technical term for a large and a small family. To clarify, I simply mean a family with many children and one with very few, if any, children. So I'm not ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

Nonabelian or non-abelian?

I asked this question on Mathematics Stack Exchange (here) but I haven't had any luck so far. Allow me to copy the question: If I wanted to be scrupulous about correct spelling, is there any reason ...
1
vote
1answer
69 views

How would you indicate a single direction trip?

This question came up today in the office. We sell single direction bus trips through our site (wanderu.com) but have not agreed on which English word(s) should be used in text. Is it one-way or one ...