Bailout, bail out, and bail-out

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The one-word bailout works only as a noun and an adjective. The hyphenated bail-out is a variant of bailout most often used in British publications. When you need a verb, make it two words—bail out. It likewise does not work as a verb.

English is rife with such pairs of phrasal verbs and corresponding one-word compounds that work as nouns and adjectives. For a few other examples, see checkup–check up, burnout–burn out, and workout–work out.


In these examples, bailout is correctly used as a noun or adjective:

Cyprus will not need a bailout to prop up its banks due to their Greek debt holdings. [Cyprus Mail]

Portugal, along with Greece and the Irish Republic, has received bailout funds from the eurozone. [BBC]

That might not help shareholders, though: in any sort of bailout, they can expect to see a large portion of their investment disappear. [Sydney Morning Herald]

And in these examples, bail out functions as a verb:

There’s nowhere near enough left to bail out Spain and Italy. [Washington Post]

Remember the $700 billion in TARP funds used to bail out the banks? [Canada Free Press]

The International Monetary Fund used to bail out deadbeat nations in Latin America. [NPR]