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[v. hahy-fuh-neyt; adj., n. hahy-fuh-nit, -neyt] /v. ˈhaɪ fəˌneɪt; adj., n. ˈhaɪ fə nɪt, -ˌneɪt/
verb (used with object), hyphenated, hyphenating.
to join by a hyphen.
to write or divide with a hyphen.
of or relating to something of distinct form or origin that has been joined; connected by a hyphen.
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
1850-55; hyphen + -ate1
Related forms
hyphenation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hyphenate
  • If they decide to quadruple-hyphenate their kids' names, so be it.
  • Most military histories hyphenate years of conflict and inscribe them on a tombstone formed by parentheses.
  • hyphenate when used as a compound adjective: long-range plan long-term, short-term.
  • Don't hyphenate words that use ex-to mean out of: excommunicate.
  • hyphenate when using ex-to mean former: ex-director.
  • Do not hyphenate elementary level, secondary level, or school level.
  • For hyphenated names, the entry is alphabetized under the first letter of the hyphenate and a cross reference is provided.
  • Use the hyphen to hyphenate two words in a compound adjective or words with a hyphenated prefix.
  • Most authors tend to hyphenate many words which should be written unhyphenated.
  • If the last word on a line does not fit completely on the line, do not hyphenate the word and continue the word on the next line.
British Dictionary definitions for hyphenate


(transitive) to separate (syllables, words, etc) with a hyphen
Derived Forms
hyphenation, 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
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Word Origin and History for hyphenate

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
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