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Oxford English Says Goodbye to 16,000 Hyphens

About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

The hyphen has been squeezed as informal ways of communicating, honed in text messages and emails, spread on Web sites and seep into newspapers and books.

"People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for," said Angus Stevenson, editor of the Shorter OED, the sixth edition of which was published this week. Another factor in the hyphen`s demise is designers' distaste for its ungainly horizontal bulk between words.

Some of the 16,000 hyphenation changes in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, sixth edition:

Formerly hyphenated words split in two:
fig leaf
hobby horse
ice cream
pin money
pot belly
test tube
water bed

Formerly hyphenated words unified in one:
bumblebee
chickpea
crybaby
leapfrog
logjam
lowlife
pigeonhole
touchline
waterborne

Source: ZeeNews
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