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Q. I haven’t paid much attention to style until recently when I had to begin doing some editing of copy again. Now I find that “copyeditor” is one word. What about people who edit books? Are they bookeditors? What about newspaper editors? Are they newspapereditors? Please justify. Thanks from Ice Age copy editor.
A. Dear Ice Age: Merriam-Webster agrees with you and still lists “copy editor,” although it gives the verb as “copyedit,” and this is probably the justification for the spelling “copyeditor” (which M-W now lists as a variant). I rather like it—at least I’d rather conserve my spleen for worse stuff. (For instance, have you noticed that nobody uses the word “who” as a relative pronoun anymore? “The parents that threw the party were arrested.” Tsk—)