A new (to me, IAC) spelling rule

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Sep 1 05:12:48 UTC 2010

  On 8/31/2010 7:14 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Incredibly, I've never heard of this rule either.
> OED shows "bed-bug" hyphenated since 1861. MW enters it as solid.
> I didn't bother to check on "dragonfly" or "damselfly."
> Conceivably it's a rule insisted on by a few anal-retentive entomologists.
> Just as conceivably, the letter writer has a bee in his bonnet and a wild
> hair elsewhere.

I see this orthographic convention put forth here in a modern popular
insect book:


It is unclear (to me) whether the authors are promulgating a "rule" or
simply stating their own preferences or practices.

Anyway, other insect books seem to use various styles, and other
orthographic "rules" for common insect name orthography have been proposed.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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