Baseball or Base Ball

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Aug 16 21:19:47 UTC 2012

>From the Trenton Evening Times,  November 13, 1915 quoted in John Thorne's excellent "Our Game" blog at

> In the early days of the game “base ball” was universal. After a time, as the game increased in popularity, many publications adopted the hyphenated form, and it became “base-ball.” At a still later period along in the ’80s, as nearly as can be discovered—the newspapers began to drop the hyphen, and “base ball” came into use.
> With all regard for those publications which adhere to the old form, the writer can see no valid reason for its continuation, common useage [sic] has set the stamp of approval upon the simple  form of ”baseball” unhyphenated, one and indivisible.

But shouldn't there have been an intermediate stage of hyphenation, as well?

Also nice on 19th c baseball lg is this post:


The American Dialect Society -

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