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[verb hahy-fuh-neyt; adjective, noun hahy-fuh-nit, -neyt] /verb ˈhaɪ fəˌneɪt; adjective, noun ˈhaɪ fə nɪt, -ˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), hyphenated, hyphenating.
to join by a hyphen.
to write or divide with a hyphen.
of or relating to something of distinct form or origin that has been joined; connected by a hyphen.
Informal. a person working or excelling in more than one craft or occupation:
He's a film-industry hyphenate, usually listed as a writer-director-producer.
Origin of hyphenate
First recorded in 1850-55; hyphen + -ate1
Related forms
hyphenation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hyphenate
Historical Examples
  • hyphenate the first two words (they really stand for one idea).

    Vocal Expression

    Katherine Jewell Everts
  • For example, the text uses no hyphen on "today" while one of the captions does hyphenate it.

  • Index entries tend to not hyphenate words that are unhyphenated in the text.

  • hyphenate compounds of great in phrases indicating degrees of descent; great-grandmother, great-great-grandfather.

    Compound Words Frederick W. Hamilton
  • hyphenate compounds of life and world; life-history, world-influence, but (by exception) lifetime.

    Compound Words Frederick W. Hamilton
  • hyphenate compounds of master; master-builder, master-stroke, but (by exception) masterpiece.

    Compound Words Frederick W. Hamilton
  • hyphenate compounds of god when this word forms the second element; sun-god, war-god, godsend, godson.

    Compound Words Frederick W. Hamilton
  • Frequently the printer made an mistake and forgot to hyphenate all or part of a word.

British Dictionary definitions for hyphenate


(transitive) to separate (syllables, words, etc) with a hyphen
Derived Forms
hyphenation, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for hyphenate

1881, from hyphen + -ate (2). The earlier verb was simply hyphen (1814). Related: Hyphenated; hyphenating. Hyphenated American is attested from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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