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Moby-Dick or Moby Dick Options
Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 3:47:38 PM

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Hello Wordnicks -

The question is which is correct - "Moby-Dick" or "Moby Dick?"

Wikipedia = Moby-Dick / TheFreeDictionary = Moby Dick

The original book cover has it "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale."

Yet, in researching book covers it shows both ways.

Or, do we cop-out & presume both are correct & leave it like that?

For the record, Mr. Melville was unavailable to comment.

With Thanks,

Tom Comstock
Fremont, CA
Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 4:47:01 PM

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I would have thought for accuracy, if that is the way it was originally written, then then that is what you should use.

But, for convenience and laziness, I would stick with Moby Dick.

I mean, people don't talk about "The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet", or "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling"
They just become "Romeo and Juliet" or "Tom Jones" - culturally each takes on its own identity that is not exactly as it was originally presented.
OK, that is not very comparable - those are shorter versions of long titles, not a change in the way the words are connected with or without the hyphen.
But I think the point is valid that 'it is what people think it is'. Whistle
Marek Guman
Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 5:09:02 PM

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thar wrote:
"The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet".

That's wonderful, I didn't know about the full title of the play. Back then they sure enjoyed long, explanatory titles.
Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2019 12:58:14 AM

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tomcrosson wrote:
Hello Wordnicks -

The question is which is correct - "Moby-Dick" or "Moby Dick?"

Wikipedia = Moby-Dick / TheFreeDictionary = Moby Dick

The original book cover has it "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale."

Yet, in researching book covers it shows both ways.

Or, do we cop-out & presume both are correct & leave it like that?

For the record, Mr. Melville was unavailable to comment.

With Thanks,

Tom Comstock
Fremont, CA

Grammatically speaking, it would be "Moby Dick," as hyphens are never used in the original way. The closest correct use (as an example) would be the following: "Wow! Did I screw up on buying this gas-guzzling Honda Pilot!!" Another might be "don't you know that you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on your hands?"
Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2019 3:28:01 AM

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THat is one use for a hyphen, but there is nothing grammatically wrong with its use here.
Names can be hyphenated.

It is not like you can claim that 'Dick' is a family name. Whistle
I think he has just the one name, like Prince or Cher or Moby.
It is just a hyphenated double-name. It is all the rage, you know!


The latest must-have baby accessory: a hyphen

Explosion in double-barrelled first names as one in six choices for baby girls now involves hyphenation

Growing numbers of British babies acquire their first status symbol at birth with a double-barrelled name
By John Bingham, and Dillon Leet6:00AM BST 23 Aug 2015

Social climbing has always started early – often as soon as children are placed in their designer pram or dressed in baby clothes from the latest must-have label.

But growing numbers of British babies now acquire their first personal status symbol at the moment of birth – amid a craze for double-barrelled first names.

Analysis by the Telegraph of the latest official baby name statistics shows an explosion in the use of hyphenated Christian names in recent years, especially for girls.

Names such as Amelia-Rose, Lily-May and Billie-Jo have surged in popularity, with the number of different double-barrelled variations appearing in official birth registrations increasing four and a half times since the millennium alone.

Last year parents of baby girls in England and Wales chose almost 1,200 different names involving a hyphen, compared to just 260 in the year 2000.

There were also 328 different types of double-barrelled boys’ names, a tenfold increase since the mid 1990s.

Overall one in six of all girls’ first names in use are now double-barrelled, the analysis of data published last week by the Office for National Statistics shows.

Commentators are divided over whether it signals an outbreak of social climbing or simply a burst of creativity by parents anxious to make their child stand out.

The number of variations involving “-Rose” alone has increased fourteen-fold in as many years.

In 2014 there were 245 different variations of Rose in maternity wards, ranging from Amelia-Rose – given to 225 girls – to the 16 Esmae-Roses and Dolly-Roses and three each called Dakota-Rose and Destiny-Rose.

There were also 59 girls named Summer-Rose but – much like their horticultural namesakes – winter varieties were rarer: with just five Winter-Roses in addition to four spelt Wynter-Rose.

Other forms of punctuation are also rapidly creeping into British names.

There is a small but growing number of children given names with apostrophes including three baby girls Christened “J’adore” last year – likely to be a reference to the perfume.

The list does not include names chosen by fewer than three families, meaning the full extent of hyphenation in Britain could be even greater.

Peter York, the commentator on British class trends and author of the Sloane Ranger Handbook, said it suggested a fad for “bling with names”.

“It does sound mock-posh to me,” he said.

“Anything with involving a dash I think people think of as being sort of posh.

“I will put it all down to the influence of Hyacinth Bucket.

“I will keep an eye out for it - it is all very, very worrying.”

He added that a generation ago the use of double first names was largely confined to upper middle class families.

“This seems to have shifted class,” he said.

“I can think of several friends of mine who are now mature women who were called this sort of name – Sarah-Jane, Sally-Anne, Sarah-Louise – they were all kind of Knightsbridge girls, what we see here isn’t that at all.”

Siobhan Freegard, founder of the parenting network Channel Mum, agreed that the fashion appeared to be driven by a perception that hyphenated names were more aspirational.

But she warned that many parents could rapidly come to regret their choice.

“Personally I think it is a trend we are going to see disappear, I think it has reached its peak,” she said.

“I think there will be the usual kick-back that we see when a trend bursts it will start to be seen as a bit downmarket.”

But Dr Jane Pilcher, a sociologist and expert on names based at Leicester University, said the trend was unlikely to be driven by the same factors as the growth in double-barrelled surnames.

“We use first names to identify us as individuals, surnames are about identifying and linking us with other people,” she explained.

“The issue people seem to be addressing here is that there are so many common first names now and this is a way of making your child uniquely identifiable, rather than having a single first name.

“I also wonder if it is not an influence of the Americanisation of contemporary culture.

“I think there is pressure to stand out, this enables people to do that without going down the route of really wacky first names.

“Having a combination of two fairly standard names might be a way of people making their child more of an individual, it might also give them the option later on of which one to follow through with.”

Yet Laura Wattenberg, a US-based expert and author of the Baby Name Wizard, said the perception of double-barrelled first names being an American influence did not reflect the reality in modern America.

“This is absolutely a British trend, it is not a trend in North America, it’s not a trend in Australia, it is one of a couple of ways in which UK naming trends are totally charting their own direction from the rest of the English speaking world.”

She argued that it dovetails with the dramatic increase in the use of informal variations of traditional names, such as Charlie, Alfie, Millie and Rosie.

“Maybe the common theme is that British baby names have turned incredibly ‘cute’.

“We are moving in the opposite direction.

“Parents [in America] not only would not give nicknames as given names but they are trying to stamp them out – if you have a little Thomas here his parents want people to call him Thomas not Tommy.

“With the exception of Louise, it is almost always a single syllable [addition], so it is something with the rhythm.

“But we are looking at 40 years from now a Parliament filled with Hollies and Millies, which is extraordinary.”

Maybe his mother just wanted him to stand out. Or maybe she thought it sounded cute. Whistle

Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2019 4:58:19 AM
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My wife and I appear to have been a little ahead of the times. When our daughter was born in 1976, we called her Mary Jane. We always used the two names together, though we did not initially hyphenate the names. Not wishing the name she was known by to be shortened to Mary, we hyphenated the names when she went to school, and she remained Mary(-)Jane (or MJ to her school friends) until she went to university. There, she got fed up with the constant need to correct people who addressed her as Mary, and Mary she has been ever since.
Posted: Saturday, August 3, 2019 10:47:01 AM

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It's a wonder she wasn't nicknamed "Alice"!

Though the White Rabbit called her "Mary-Ann", Alice's shoes were black Mary-Janes.

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