“Billiard Monthly” or “Billiards Monthly”?
To the Editor.
According to The New English Dictionary the singular
“billiard” is only used in combination, as billiard ball,
club, cue, player, room, sharper, etc. This dictionary,
which is the latest authority, treats the word as a noun
singular: “billiard,” plural “billiards.” So according to
it every combination of the singular should be written with
a hyphen, thus: billiard-ball, billiard-room, billiard-table,
and so on.
Latham’s Johnson’s Dictionary, which has a deservedly
high reputation as an authority in respect to English literature,
treats the word “billiards” as generally plural, but
in the following extracts as singular and adjectival:
“Smooth as is the billiard-ball. “#151;B. Jonson.
“When the ball obeys the stroke of a billiard-stick.”
Consequently “Billiard-Monthly” is correct; either as
billiard is considered a noun singular in combination, or as
singular and adjectival.
The use of “pyramid” and “pyramids” is somewhat
similar; we say “a game of pyramids,” but also “the
technically correct, although in general usage the hyphen is