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I've asked this question about the path that a rocket takes during launch, or actually the ground-track of its path.

If the rocket launching from Florida were to go into a polar orbit, it would have to do some kind of dogleg maneuver. I'm still waiting to see exactly what this means.

If I look in Wikipedia, I see three spellings; dog-leg, dogleg, and dog leg. I'm using dogleg in the following:

A dogleg maneuver is when a satellite doglegs, executing one dogleg after another, following along a doglegged or dogleg-shaped path...

but can I just use any spelling I want, or are there preferred ways to do this?

closed as off-topic by David, RaceYouAnytime, Hellion, Roaring Fish, NVZ Sep 21 '17 at 7:27

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If you look closely at the ODO (Oxford Dictionary Online), they claim that dogleg is American English, while dog-leg is British English. They could have made this clearer, but if you're maintaining an on-line dictionary, it's hard to get everything right.

If you look at Google Ngrams, this is more or less true, although both versions of English use both forms. And the one-word form is catching up with the hyphenated form in British English. I suspect it will eventually become dominant in both places1

The two-word form isn't at all common in either AmE or BrE – I don't see any reason to use it.

1 This is a fairly standard evolution for hyphenated words in English; for example, to-day and to-morrow used to be hyphenated.

  • Thank you for looking into this. I am glad to hear that I'm on the correct "trajectory", also the historical anecdote is interesting, and may explain some things I've seen in the past. Just curious, how long ago is "used to" in that particular example? – uhoh May 2 '17 at 13:36
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    Google Ngrams says the crossover point for today/to-day was ca. 1930 AmE, and ca. 1950 for British English. Here's the combined Ngram. You can see AmE and BrE separately by changing the "corpus" option. – Peter Shor May 2 '17 at 13:40
  • Wow - I've never used that before, thanks for introducing me! – uhoh May 2 '17 at 13:43
  • Thanks again for your answer, and sorry for not accepting sooner. I think that I was just distracted by the linked launch question and forgot to return and do it. – uhoh Jun 20 '17 at 20:02

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