Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[hahy-fuh n] /ˈhaɪ fən/
a short line (-) used to connect the parts of a compound word or the parts of a word divided for any purpose.
verb (used with object)
Origin of hyphen
1595-1605; < Late Latin < Greek hyphén (adv.) together, derivative of hyph' hén (prepositional phrase), equivalent to hyp(ó) under (see hypo-) + hén, neuter of heîs one
Related forms
[hahy-fen-ik] /haɪˈfɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
dehyphen, verb (used with object)
unhyphened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for hyphen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The purser said that the dragon's name was Mrs. Scrivener-Yapling, with a hyphen.

  • The hyphen is used between the component parts of some compound words.


    Paul Allardyce
  • The hyphen is used also when the words are inverted; as "four-and-thirty," "six-and-fortieth."


    Paul Allardyce
  • But if the word "part" or the word "share" follows, the hyphen is not used; as "two third parts."


    Paul Allardyce
  • There is no rule to distinguish the compound words that take a hyphen from those that do not.


    Paul Allardyce
  • In these words the pronunciation is more clearly marked by inserting the hyphen.


    Paul Allardyce
  • He belonged to the branch of the family that owns the hyphen and most of the money.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • The word 'nightcap' is spelled with and without a hyphen in the text.

  • When used as adverbs they may be printed in italics without the hyphen.

    The Uses of Italic Frederick W. Hamilton
British Dictionary definitions for hyphen


the punctuation mark (-), used to separate the parts of some compound words, to link the words of a phrase, and between syllables of a word split between two consecutive lines of writing or printing
(transitive) another word for hyphenate
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin (meaning: the combining of two words), from Greek huphen (adv) together, from hypo- + heis one
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for hyphen

1620s, from Late Latin hyphen, from Greek hyphen "mark joining two syllables or words," probably indicating how they were to be sung, noun use of an adverb meaning "together, in one," literally "under one," from hypo "under" (see sub-) + hen, neuter of heis "one."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
hyphen in Culture

hyphen definition

A punctuation mark (-) used in some compound words, such as self-motivation, seventy-five, and mother-in-law. A hyphen is also used to divide a word at the end of a line of type. Hyphens may appear only between syllables. Thus com-pound is properly hyphenated, but compo-und is not.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for hyphen

Word Value for hyphen

Scrabble Words With Friends