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See also: , -, , , and
Unicode name HYPHEN
Code point U+2010
Entity number ‐
Unicode block General Punctuation
[U+200F] [U+2011]
Code point U+2011
Entity number ‑
Unicode block General Punctuation
[U+2010] [U+2012]


Punctuation mark[edit]

‎(English name hyphen)

  1. Used to separate certain pieces of text.
    1. Separates syllables.
    2. Separates letters.
      WORD spells "word"
    3. Used to split a word across a line break (called hyphenation).
      We, therefore, the represen
      tatives of the United States
    4. Used to mark a point where a morpheme (a suffix, a prefix, etc.) is supposed to be attached to a word.
      Happiness ends with -ness.
  2. Used to connect certain pieces of text.
    1. Used when joining prefixes and suffixes according to stylistic rules, often to avoid confusion in pronunciation or meaning
      ultraambitious (to indicate both aes are pronounced)
      I must repress the shirt (to avoid confusion with repress)
    2. Used to connect words in compound terms.
    3. Used to connect words in a compound modifier according to various stylistic rules.
      "realworld examples" (but "examples are from the real world")
    4. Used to indicate common parts of repeated compounds.
      nineteenth and twentieth‐century
    5. Used to connect the year, the month and the day, in dates.
      1789-07-14 the date of the first Bastille Day
  3. Indicates stuttering.
    Wwwould you marry me?
  4. Used to hide letters.
    Gd for God

Usage notes[edit]


Most text systems consider a hyphen to be a word boundary and a valid point at which to break a line when flowing text. However, this is not always desirable behavior. The non-breaking hyphen looks identical to the regular hyphen, but is not treated as a word boundary.

The similar looking hyphen-minus (-) is used more frequently, but is used for many purposes (as a hyphen, minus sign, and dash). The hyphen symbol is therefore more specific.

In American English, compound words are formed more liberally than in British English. Hyphenated compound nouns are also much more common in colloquial American English.


  • (all sense): - (hyphen-minus), often used for its ease.
  • (distinguish syllables, US): · (interpunct)
  • (hide letters): (en-dash)
  • (connecting compounds): (en-dash), when the constituent parts already contain hyphens.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. Used to join the components of coordinative compounds, with equal components.
    secretary-general; yellow-green; a here-today-gone-tomorrow attitude; kitchen-dinette-office
  2. Used to join the components of subordinative compounds, with a dominant component or head.
    a has-been; cholesterol-free; short-changing


See also[edit]