Another Hyphen Bites the Dust

The times, they are a changing:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is taking the stores out of Wal-Mart. The retail behemoth with more than 11,700 locations around the world announced Wednesday that it will shorten its legal name to Walmart Inc.

….Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in 1962 in Rogers, Ark., after opening several stores with other names including a Walton’s 5 & 10. The name Walmart came from Bob Bogle, one of the first store managers, according to Mr. Walton’s autobiography. The company incorporated in 1969 as Wal-Mart Inc., then became Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 1970 when it went public.

I’m afraid the Wall Street Journal missed the real story here: Wal-Mart also removed its hyphen. Actually, they did this years ago, but no one seemed to catch on, possibly because the company’s legal name was still Wal-Mart. But now there’s no excuse.

Hyphens have always been the great disappearing punctuation mark, used for a short while and then abandoned, and now Walmart has abandoned the last vestige of Sam Walton’s hyphen. As usual, though, it did yeoman work for decades before it was finally killed off. So let’s all observe a moment of silence and respect for Walmart’s hyphen.