[verb hahy-fuh-neyt; adjective, noun hahy-fuh-nit, -neyt]
  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. 2018

Examples from the Web for hyphenation

Historical Examples of hyphenation

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for hyphenation



  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 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