[ 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.

  1. of or relating to something of distinct form or origin that has been joined; connected by a hyphen.

  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.

Origin of hyphenate

First recorded in 1850–55; hyphen + -ate1

Other words from hyphenate

  • hy·phen·a·tion, noun

Words Nearby hyphenate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hyphenate in a sentence

  • Frequently the printer made an mistake and forgot to hyphenate all or part of a word.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for hyphenate



/ (ˈhaɪfəˌneɪt) /

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

Derived forms of hyphenate

  • 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