Q: A few days ago I saw “worldwide” hyphenated as “worl-dwide” in a book. Is this an artifact of a computer spell-check program?
As we note, hyphenations change, and different publishers may treat the same compound differently.
You’ll find “world-wide” in some places and “worldwide” in others. Generally, as compounds become more familiar over time, they tend to lose their hyphens. So “world wide” becomes “world-wide” and eventually “worldwide.”
Now, a case like “worl-dwide” is a simple typographical error.
We’d guess that a word the publisher treated as a solid compound (“worldwide”) broke at the end of a line, and the typesetting program wasn’t properly programmed to hyphenate it correctly (“world-wide”).
In most cases, line-break errors in manuscripts are caught by proofreaders before publication. But strays can and do slip through the cracks.
If “worl-dwide” appeared in the middle of a line of text in a book, the error would be more unusual. We can’t begin to guess how that would happen!
A book is one thing, the Internet something else. We googled “worl-dwide” the other day and got 23,000 hits, most of them written as two words. Yikes!
A few examples: “Dhl Worl Dwide Express (Dubai)” … “RATED AS A TOP 10 DJ WORL DWIDE” … “Worl dWide PR.”
We won’t bother with links, since this posting may prod the miscreants to mend the errors of their ways.
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