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I saw this sentence on newspaper:

"The since-deleted tweet suggested that US travellers who were not attractive enough to be bought drinks in bars at home should not expect that to change while overseas..."

I think the "since-deleted" tweet means that "the tweet has been deleted". What confuses me is that "since" should be bound to a verb "delete" by the dash. I just found "since" can be an adverb, and is this the reason? What if I re-write the phrase as "the tweet has been deleted since"? Is this okay?

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Yes, using a compound adjective in formal writing is perfectly acceptable.

As you say, since functions as an adverb: deleted functions as a passive participle (a type of adjective) rather than as a verb. Other commonly used examples of adverb-participle are well-written, ill-assorted, long-forgotten and oft-repeated.

You could indeed rewrite it in the way that you suggested. Here is a similar sentence with an adverbal use of since :

We have not seen her since

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since-deleted has become a common use term for online posts that are written for impact, then deleted to give the impression that it wasn't really intended.

It would be like saying something critical, then saying "Oh, that is not what I meant." But what was said is now out there anyway.

As a free standing term, separate from either since or deleted, using a hyphen is appropriate.

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  • Now I learn more about this term from you, thank you! – user32250 Apr 27 '16 at 14:29

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