- 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)
- 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
- (tr) another word for hyphenate
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.”
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.