adjective Informal.
  1. of, relating to, or designating a person, group, or organization of mixed origin or identity: an Irish-American club and other hyphenated organizations.

Origin of hyphenated

First recorded in 1890–95; hyphenate + -ed2
Related formsun·hy·phen·at·ed, adjective


[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
Related formshy·phen·a·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hyphenated

Contemporary Examples of hyphenated

  • Trevor says that if he is to be hyphenated, he prefers Protestant-Irish to Anglo-Irish.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Read Me, I'm Irish

    Mark Salter

    March 17, 2009

  • Obama presented himself as an American individual first, not, as Teddy Roosevelt would say, "a hyphenated American."

    The Daily Beast logo
    Irrational Obama Exuberance

    John Avlon

    November 26, 2008

Historical Examples of hyphenated

  • Inconsistencies in hyphenated words have been made consistent.

  • The Bear Garden is not hyphenated when used in titles but is hyphenated within the text.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • The following words are found in hyphenated and unhyphenated forms in the text.

  • A word should never be divided or hyphenated in lettering, when it can be avoided.

    A Book for All Readers

    Ainsworth Rand Spofford

  • Inconsistencies with regards to hyphenated words have been left as in the original.

    Health on the Farm

    H. F. Harris

British Dictionary definitions for hyphenated


  1. containing or linked with a hyphen
  2. mainly US having a nationality denoted by a hyphenated word, as in American-Irish
  3. mainly US denoting something, such as a professional career, that consists of two elements, as in singer-songwriter



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



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