Water Ski, Water-ski, or Waterski?
A reader wants to know how to write the word that describes the sport of propelling oneself over water on long narrow pieces of wood:
Should it be water-ski, water ski, or waterski?”
Naturally, I went directly to the OED, where I found the following spellings:
Second stop, Merriam-Webster, which offers only:
water ski (noun)
From the dictionaries, I proceeded to the Web to see how articles and blogs concerned with water sports spell the words.
The Wikipedia article “List of water sports” has waterskiing.
The Wikipedia article “Waterskiing” shows the title as one word, but begins, “Water skiing is a surface sport.” In the list of contents, waterskiing is again spelled as one word.
Organizations devoted to waterskiing vary in their spelling of the sport:
USA Water Ski (national governing body of organized water skiing in the United States)
International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (world governing body)
Water Skiers with Disabilities Association
Waterski & Wakeboard Australia
Western Australian Water Ski Association
Chico Water Ski Team (California State University)
The website for Dick’s Sporting Goods offers waterskis, water skis, and a “waterski rope package.”
Amazon carries “waterskiing equipment.”
The online magazine Waterski shows the following usage:
Water-Ski Ninja Workout
My European Water-Ski Adventure
Water Ski Trivia
How Orlando Became the Mecca of Water Skiing
It’s one of the most iconic shots in the history of water skiing.
Thousands of water-skiers trek annually to Orlando.
Please drink and water-ski responsibly.
Journalists writing about the sport will have to choose their dictionaries or go with editorial guidelines and/or the preferred spelling of official organizations. My preference would be to spell all the forms as one word.
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