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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hyphenation
Historical Examples
  • hyphenation, and capitalisation of proper nouns, has been made consistent.

  • Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation have been retained from the original.


    Benjamin Taylor
  • Variations of hyphenation from the original document have been retained.

    Morals in Trade and Commerce Frank B. Anderson
  • Variations in spelling and hyphenation have been retained as in the original.

  • Inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation have been retained from the original.

    The Negro Farmer Carl Kelsey
  • Archaic and variable spelling and hyphenation are preserved.

    Browning's England Helen Archibald Clarke
  • hyphenation has been made consistent throughout, without note.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • Variations in hyphenation have been left as in the original.

    Women's Wild Oats C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • The original contained inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation.

    A Canyon Voyage Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
  • The spelling and hyphenation in the original are inconsistent, and have not been changed.

British Dictionary definitions for hyphenation


(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 hyphenation

1881, from hyphen + -ation. Hyphenization is attested from 1851.



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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