Twentynine Palms


The name “Twentynine Palms,” referring to the city in California, indeed lacks a hyphen, which might seem unusual given the norm in English to hyphenate compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine. The reason for this absence of a hyphen in “Twentynine Palms” is more historical and conventional than grammatical.

Oasis of Mara (colorized vintage photo)

The city’s name comes from the original designation of the area by the Oasis of Mara, where it was noted by early settlers or possibly by surveyors that there were twenty-nine palm trees at the site. This naming convention stuck, and the specific styling of “Twentynine” without a hyphen became the city’s official name. Over time, this styling was retained in official documents, signage, and local usage, making it the standard spelling.

In-place names, especially hyphens, can vary widely and are often dictated by tradition or local preference rather than strict grammatical rules. Once a name is established and recognized in official records, it tends to remain unchanged to preserve historical consistency and identity. This is why “Twentynine Palms” remains without a hyphen, reflecting its unique history and how it was originally named.