12/29/2007

(a) dogfighting or (b) dog fighting


Dictionary.com lists dogfighting among its Words of the Year for 2007. That certainly isn't surprising given the volume of Michael Vick coverage. After reviewing Google News to see how the media handle the term, it looks like Mr. Rewrite needs to settle whether it's dogfighting or dog fighting. The latter is used about 10 percent of the time in articles and headlines. Meanwhile, dog fight gets about 25 percent of the Google News play versus dogfight.

The answer: dogfighting (or dogfight). That stands whether you're using it as a noun or verb. Here's why ...

Mr. Rewrite follows Associated Press style, which calls for Webster's New World Dictionary to decide issues that aren't covered in AP's stylebook. That's the case with dogfighting. Here's what's in Mr. Rewrite's beloved New World:

dogfight (noun) a rough, violent fight between, or as between, dogs.

Mr. Rewrite doesn't particularly like dogfight as a verb, but Dictionary.com allows it when referring to engaging in a dogfight. So Mr. Rewrite will hold his virtual nose and accept it.

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