1 of 2


hy·​phen ˈhī-fən How to pronounce hyphen (audio)
: a punctuation mark - used especially to divide or to compound words, word elements, or numbers
hyphenless adjective


2 of 2


hyphened; hyphening; hyphens

Examples of hyphen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The nice people at the U.S. Census Bureau couldn’t help me track hyphens over time; neither could the nice people at the wedding company The Knot. Rachel Gutman-Wei, The Atlantic, 2 Jan. 2024 Why does a silly little hyphen make so many people uncomfortable, or unsettled, or even—God forbid—uncomfortable-unsettled? Rachel Gutman-Wei, The Atlantic, 2 Jan. 2024 Usually the joke works better that way, but other times a hyphen will interfere with the pronunciation, and so the word will work better without the hyphen. Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2022 Scripted to the point of obeying all the full stops and the ellipses and the hyphens. Kate Aurthur, Variety, 2 Aug. 2023 At the Waldorf Astoria (its hyphen excised in 2009), the light-brick-and-limestone façade had darkened from pale gray to fuliginous, and the Art Deco interiors had acquired encrustations of yellowed varnish and tacky décor. Curbed, 9 June 2023 McCarthy had a strong aversion to punctuation, and often stripped his books of quotation marks, commas and hyphens. Steve Marble, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2023 In those cases, numbers were omitted or hyphens have been added. Alexandra S. Levine, Forbes, 5 May 2023 There is now no hyphen in Ingersoll Rand, as the company officially changed its name from Ingersoll-Rand. WSJ, 10 Mar. 2023
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, 10 July 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hyphen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


circa 1620, in the meaning defined above


1814, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hyphen was circa 1620

Dictionary Entries Near hyphen

Cite this Entry

“Hyphen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyphen. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
hy·​phen ˈhī-fən How to pronounce hyphen (audio)
: a punctuation mark - used to divide or to compound words or word elements


2 of 2 verb

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