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The compound noun "day hike" is used to describe "a hike that can be completed in a single day". It is most frequently written with a space in between the words, though you can find examples online where people have spelled it "dayhike" or "day-hike". Google automatically corrects searches for the word "dayhike" with "day hike".

Since "hike" is both a noun and a verb, "day hike" is commonly verbed, e.g. "Or you can choose to day hike into the canyon."

Is that usage correct? Here's the sentence that triggered this question:

To day hike any farther, I'm going to need longer days...

Should "day hike" be hyphenated in this case? Is there a general principle to follow in cases like these?

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See http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/hyphen#hyphens_in_compound_words for the rules governing compound and phrasal nouns.

English is pretty dynamic and forgiving in this regard, so you needn't fear a raid by black-garbed Grammar Police if you hyphenate when you use day hike as a verb.

There seems to be little prepossessing reason to hyphenate ar blend day hike, though, so perhaps in this instance it would be best to heed the editorial preference of Google and leave the words separate.

  • I agree (like my opinion matters!). I feel only hyphenate as a compound adjective, like that day-hike trail is totally steep, dude. – Stu W Mar 6 '16 at 1:40
  • @Rob_Ster, it's funny, your link seems to suggest that compound nouns used as verbs should be hyphenated. They give "to ice-skate", "to booby-trap", "to spot-check", and "to court-martial" as examples, all of which are unhyphenated as nouns. "to day-hike" seems to fit the pattern exactly. – Justin Watt Mar 7 '16 at 5:35

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