• synonyms


[verb hahy-fuh-neyt; adjective, noun hahy-fuh-nit, -neyt]
verb (used with object), hy·phen·at·ed, hy·phen·at·ing.
  1. to join by a hyphen.
  2. to write or divide with a hyphen.
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  1. of or relating to something of distinct form or origin that has been joined; connected by a hyphen.
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  1. 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.
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Origin of hyphenate

First recorded in 1850–55; hyphen + -ate1
Related formshy·phen·a·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hyphenate

Historical Examples of hyphenate

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for hyphenate



  1. (tr) to separate (syllables, words, etc) with a hyphen
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Derived Formshyphenation, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper