I'm sure I've heard the word misscheduled used multiple times in my life. But just now, my spell checker threw a fit. Since I wasn't sure if it should be misscheduled, mis-scheduled, or mischeduled I started searching - but I'm not finding it in any of my digital dictionaries.

Is misscheduled a proper English word? If so, what is the proper spelling? If not, what is a concise word that means someone scheduled something at the wrong time?

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    You could probably get away with dropping the hyphen, but I'd advise keeping it. You certainly can't drop one of the s's. This particular "word" is marginal at best, so including the hyphen will make it easier for people to recognise what you mean. As for alternatives, I doubt there would be anything shorter because the required context simply won't arise often enough to need it. – FumbleFingers Jan 24 '12 at 3:47
  • @FumbleFingers Supporting your comment, I note that the largest collection of game words (Scrabble words), the Yet Another Word List, does not list misscheduled without the hyphen. This is a list which incorporates all the usual prefixes and suffixes used with words when they are not hyphenated. – MetaEd Jan 25 '12 at 18:59
  1. No, misschedule (or mis-schedule) isn't a word that you'll find in a dictionary.
  2. I agree with @phenry's CMoS citation about not hyphenating words that are prefixed with mis-, as do other sources. Write misschedule if you must.
  3. There doesn't seem to be a concise way of saying that something was scheduled in error; common synonyms for schedule don't seem to lend themselves to something that's any less hideous than misschedule.
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The current commonest usage appears to be misschedule(d).
"Tonight Show will Air at 11pm CST due to misschedule"
"A Misschedule exception is not propagated through two consecutive link events in a flow."

Somtimes, with a single s: "Philly vs Miami... yahoo mischedule?"

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  • I am guessing the down voter... :) – Kris Jan 24 '12 at 7:58
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    I suspect "mischedule" is just a mispelling. :-) – Jay Jan 24 '12 at 15:47
  • I too must downvote, because I agree that reference to a single "s" is irrelevant and mileading. But at least it gave @Jay an easy in! :) – FumbleFingers Jan 25 '12 at 0:54

Forget mischedule. You definitely want two S's.

In my experience, people often use the hyphen when they believe they are using the prefix to coin a new word, or a highly unfamiliar one; hence, our willingness to entertain "mis-schedule" when we would never accept "mis-fire", for example. As a rule, though, you should avoid using a hyphen to separate a prefix from its root word unless it is necessary for clarity (you'd want to distinguish "mis-sing" from "missing," for example). So: misschedule it is.

(Chapter and verse citation, if you want one: "Compounds formed with prefixes are normally closed, whether they are nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs." Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., sec. 7.85.)

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  • Well, even on its own, badly scheduled (just one possible alternative) outweighed "misscheduled" for most of the past half-century. So I think this is at least a marginal case for saying "ordinary word - doesn't need hyphen". But perhaps the real-world referent is on the increase so we might as well get used to it. – FumbleFingers Jan 25 '12 at 1:00

You'll want to keep the hyphen, as it's an unorthodox or unconventional-ized usage of a prefix on a word that previously didn't have a standard prefixed form.

miss scheduled : mis-scheduled

The hyphen is the clearest way to show that this word doesn't have a proper spelling in your experience.

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In books it seems to appear as misscheduled.¹

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    That's just an artifact of the Ngram Viewer's inability to handle hyphens correctly (e.g., "mother in law" vs. "mother-in-law".) – phenry Jan 24 '12 at 23:53
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    In "vanilla" Google, restricted to "Books", searching for misscheduled includes hyphenated versions such as this. It still seems to me that the non-hyphenated versions predominate, but I would avoid that unless the context was really obvious (such as referring to a misscheduling somewhere within a schedule guide). – FumbleFingers Jan 25 '12 at 0:50

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