See also: [U+2013 EN DASH], - [U+002D HYPHEN-MINUS], [U+2212 MINUS SIGN], [U+2014 EM DASH], and [U+4E00 CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH-4E00]
U+2010, ‐

General Punctuation
U+2011, ‑

General Punctuation
­ U+00AD, ­
(Abbreviation: SHY)
Latin-1 Supplement ®


Punctuation markEdit

(English name hyphen)

  1. Separates certain pieces of text.
    1. Separates syllables.
    2. Separates letters.
      WORD spells "word"
    3. Splits a word across a line break (called hyphenation).
      We, therefore, the represen
      tatives of the United States
    4. Marks a point where a morpheme (a suffix, a prefix, etc.) is supposed to be attached to a word.
      Happiness ends with -ness.
  2. Connects certain pieces of text.
    1. Joins 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. Connects words in compound terms.
    3. Connects words in a compound modifier according to various stylistic rules.
      "realworld examples" (but "examples are from the real world")
    4. Connects names in some compound surnames.
    5. Indicates common parts of repeated compounds.
      nineteenth and twentieth‐century
    6. Connects words in some situations, akin to a space.
    7. Connects 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. Separates the components of a pun.
    This is a catastrophe! (a catastrophe involving cats)
  5. Hides letters.
    Gd for God

Usage notesEdit


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.

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.

A soft hyphen is generally invisible text character marking a point where hyphenation can occur without forcing a line break in an inconvenient place if the text is later reflowed. See below:


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 termsEdit


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


See alsoEdit