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Which is it? Biohacker vs bio-hacker

By: Dave Asprey
July 17, 2012

Which is it? Biohacker vs bio-hacker

A few weeks ago, we released the biohacking universe infographic, we supported the NYC biohacker meetup last month, and I spoke at the QS Silicon Valley meetup about biohacking.

But the truth is that I don’t really know how to spell it, and since the word is entering common usage, let’s decide now once and for all. Search engines and researchers everywhere will thank us for it!

Tim Ferriss calls himself a biohacker. So does Jack Kruse. Most twitter profiles use the unhyphenated version. Forbes spelled it “biohacker” when they had me on video.

But Microsoft Word spell checker spells it “bio hacker” and some other people spell it “bio-hacker”.

So I e-mailed a select group of biohackers I know and asked for input. The answers were unanimous, but the reasons were interesting.

Some aesthetic arguments favored no hyphen (biohacker):

Biohacker is easier to remember spelling, rolls off the tongue (no pause from dash), grammatically correct and pleasing to the eye.

I have a strong aesthetic preference for no dash, probably from website domains, and never use one myself.

Grammar rules also favored the hyphen (bio-hacker):

 I prefer the aesthetics of bio-hacking but grammar precedents call for biohacking since it’s unlikely to be misread and bio serves as a prefix in this case. 

However, analyzing further, hyphenated *could* make more sense. Consider replacing “bio” with something else, like “sleep” or “diet” (specific forms of “biohacking”) and you get “sleephacker” or “diethacker” which are clumsy looking. However! …”bio” is a prefix, not a full word in itself (as are “sleep” and diet”). That’s why we have the word “biology” (“the study of biology”) and not “bio-logy”.

 Learn how to use hyphens

I find that the aesthetics and grammar make me want to not hyphenate it, and the SEO arguments and the fact that Forbes (national media) and Four Hour Body (NY Times Best Seller) have set a precedent.

Do you agree? Let me know why or why not. Your replies here will help me to decide how to use it going forward on this site and in my books!