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[hahy-fuh n] /ˈhaɪ fən/
a short line (-) used to connect the parts of a compound word or the parts of a word divided for any purpose.
verb (used with object)
Origin of hyphen
1595-1605; < Late Latin < Greek hyphén (adv.) together, derivative of hyph' hén (prepositional phrase), equivalent to hyp(ó) under (see hypo-) + hén, neuter of heîs one
Related forms
[hahy-fen-ik] /haɪˈfɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
dehyphen, verb (used with object)
unhyphened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for hyphen


the punctuation mark (-), used to separate the parts of some compound words, to link the words of a phrase, and between syllables of a word split between two consecutive lines of writing or printing
(transitive) another word for hyphenate
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin (meaning: the combining of two words), from Greek huphen (adv) together, from hypo- + heis one
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
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Word Origin and History for hyphen

1620s, from Late Latin hyphen, from Greek hyphen "mark joining two syllables or words," probably indicating how they were to be sung, noun use of an adverb meaning "together, in one," literally "under one," from hypo "under" (see sub-) + hen, neuter of heis "one."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hyphen in Culture

hyphen definition

A punctuation mark (-) used in some compound words, such as self-motivation, seventy-five, and mother-in-law. A hyphen is also used to divide a word at the end of a line of type. Hyphens may appear only between syllables. Thus com-pound is properly hyphenated, but compo-und is not.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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