From what I've been able to find, "facilitywide" is the proper term. However after a quick search I've been unable to find this term actually used. "Facility wide" and "facility-wide" are used about 50/50.

I looked up dictionary (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/wide) definition of "wide" and there it says: "a combining form of wide, forming from nouns adjectives with the general sense “extending or applying throughout a given space,” as specified by the noun: communitywide; countrywide; worldwide." Note the examples given at the end of the quote.


Hyphenation is the most inconsistently applied punctuation in the English language. Editors often have to look up whether a particular compound word is connected, hyphenated or open. This document, which runs to 10 pages, will give you an idea of the can of worms that you have opened. Your search having revealed that facility wide and facility-wide are used about 50-50 (hyphenation when expressing ratios is also correct, as the document will also tell you) only shows just how often native writers make mistakes in hyphenation.

In this case facility-wide is correct, both when preceding and following the noun it modifies. See the very last entry in the document: the rule for "wide" in a compound is that if you can't find it in the dictionary as a single word (such as worldwide) you hyphenate it.

Note that all three of the examples given in your dictionary example also have their own entries in the same dictionary. They are not intended to infer a construction that goes beyond the examples given.

The reason that some compounds are hyphenated and some are not has to do with how often they are used. As a hyphenated word gets used more often, the hyphen tends to drop out. For example, email was generally written e-mail back in the early 90s.

  • Indeed, and not just how often a term has been used but how long it's been in existence. As you look through older literature you find that compounds tend to move through the stages of "word word" to "word-word" to "wordword". Jun 20 '17 at 17:44
  • @LukeSawczak Very true.
    – BobRodes
    Jun 20 '17 at 17:47
  • 1
    My favorite example is baseball, which started out as base ball and progressed through base-ball before reaching its current integrity. Jun 20 '17 at 18:00
  • @StoneyB Yes, that's a great example!
    – BobRodes
    Jun 25 '17 at 6:29

I contacted Merriam-Webster and asked them why 'schoolwide' was not in their dictionary. Their response was that every noun serving as a location could have wide added to the end of it, and that they only include the most popular ones in the dictionary. But she noted that whether or not it was in the dictionary, there was no need to add a hyphen. So no need to change the rules because one word is more popular than the other. Worldwide and buildingwide are both correct, but the latter is not in the dictionary because it is hardly ever used. Feel free to contact them yourself to find out why they don't include it in the dictionary. You don't have to take my word for it.

  • This is a very prescriptive approach. The currently favored descriptivist method says that dictionaries should record what users of the language say and write, not specify rules. If no one uses "buildingwide" (as i think pretty much no one does) but people do use "building-wide" then the latter is correct and the former is not, or at least is non-standard. Aug 10 '19 at 0:03

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