In a well-known and much discussed article, the philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote as follows (Russell, 1952):
If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes.
Setting aside Russell's reasons for writing this sentence (in context, to do with both the burden of proof and the existence or otherwise of a deity) I would like to focus on what, in the above extract, is a single word: ‘teapot’. If you, as a reader and no doubt writer of the English language, were required to convey in writing the same concept (a ceramic or metal receptacle with a handle, spout and lid, in which tea is brewed and from which it is poured) would you go for ‘teapot’, ‘tea-pot’ or ‘tea pot’? In other words, to use a phrase commonly heard when the amount of sugar in a cup of tea is discussed, do you think teapot/tea pot should be one lump or two?