hy·​phen | \ ˈhī-fən How to pronounce hyphen (audio) \

Definition of hyphen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a punctuation mark - used especially to divide or to compound words, word elements, or numbers


hyphened; hyphening; hyphens

Definition of hyphen (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from hyphen


hyphenless \ ˈhī-​fən-​ləs How to pronounce hyphenless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of hyphen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By the end of the 2019 season, Davis had lost one hyphen and gained a new title: All-American. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s Josh Myers can have a Wyatt Davis-like breakout in 2020: Buckeye Take," 6 June 2020 Where our economy presumes the supremacy of profit, the hyphen situates the worker and owners as true equals. Vanessa A. Bee, The New Republic, "A Quiet Workplace Revolution in the Shadow of Silicon Valley," 3 June 2020 To avoid detection, messages sent by Amazon sales reps stayed generic and frequently used hyphens or periods between letters to describe the rival company, including a-m-a-z-o-n or A.M.Z.N., the cease-and-desist letter alleges. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "EBay Accuses Amazon of Illegally Poaching Sellers," 3 Oct. 2018 Balliol authorities seemed not to find this amusing, even with the coy little hyphens. Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1372: Trash talk, 1880-style," 20 Feb. 2020 Here is what the wrathful fought about recently: Does the president know what a hyphen is? Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "We can’t impeach the Internet, so buckle up," 3 Oct. 2019 So many plays have tried employing profanity in their titles that The New York Times’s standards editor, Philip B. Corbett, finally had to weigh in with an explanation about all the hyphens and euphemisms put into service. Eric Grode, New York Times, "From ‘Sex’ to ‘Superstar,’ 10 Plays That Caused a Stir," 11 Sep. 2019 Here’s another: Hilderbrand puts the hyphen in Durgin-Park, and no editor in New York excised it. David Shribman, BostonGlobe.com, "Tuned in to the ‘Summer of ’69’," 22 Aug. 2019 Actress and writer Casey Wilson has added another hyphen to her ever-expanding career, as a first time director of a short accepted into this year’s Toronto International Film Festival titled Daddio. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "Casey Wilson talks directing a short about her eccentric father, and the future of Bitch Sesh," 8 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Normally, closed caption subtitling bleeps words in a variety of different ways: phrases, such as (bleep), [expletive], or [censored] may be used, though sometimes hyphens or asterisks are substituted instead (f–k, f---, or f*** are all examples. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "I Rely On Closed Captions to Enjoy a Show And I Don't Appreciate Netflix's Way of Censoring Them," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hyphen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hyphen


circa 1620, in the meaning defined above


1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hyphen


Late Latin & Greek; Late Latin, from Greek, from hyph' hen under one, from hypo under + hen, neuter of heis one — more at up, same

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Time Traveler for hyphen

Time Traveler

The first known use of hyphen was circa 1620

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Statistics for hyphen

Last Updated

9 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hyphen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyphen. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for hyphen


How to pronounce hyphen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hyphen

: a punctuation mark - that is used to connect words or parts of words


hy·​phen | \ ˈhī-fən How to pronounce hyphen (audio) \

Kids Definition of hyphen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a mark - used to divide or to connect words or word elements


hyphened; hyphening

Kids Definition of hyphen (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on hyphen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hyphen

Spanish Central: Translation of hyphen

Nglish: Translation of hyphen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hyphen for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hyphen

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