You and your flat mate

A document referred to someone as coming from a part of a country which is a “hot bed” of religious extremism. A hot bed is more likely to be an actual bed which is actually hot, but the origin is apparently horticultural rather than dormitory (compare hot house). A hotbed might be literal, but is more likely to be figurative (especially a hotbed of crime, intrigue, radicalism, corruption, vice, sedition, revolution, disease, war, fever). It could also be an actual bed which is shared by two or more people in shifts, which is also used as a verb. 

Another document referred to some living with a “flat mate”. Unlike hot bed, which is adj + noun = compound noun, flat mate has always been noun + noun = compound noun. (Compare you and your fat mate.)

Most compound nouns go through a process of being written as two words, then hyphenated, then one word, with any figurative meaning more likely to be one word. 


One thought on “You and your flat mate

  1. Of course, “hot bed” and “flat mate” would be distinct from “hotbed” and “flatmate” when spoken; the stresses would be entirely different. This is presuming the slightly rude implications of the two-word versions.


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