- another term for hyphenate.
early 17th century: via late Latin from Greek huphen 'together', from hupo 'under' + hen 'one'
A punctuation mark with three uses:SpellingSome compound words are linked by a hyphen. There is no simple rule to help know which compounds need hyphens and which do not. Hyphens are, however, being used less and less, especially in compound nouns. People tend to write website rather than website, and air raid instead of air-raid. Hyphens are still often used: to form a verb from a compound noun:a booby trap The area was heavily mined and booby-trapped. to form a word with a prefix, especially when the prefix ends with the same letter that the root word begins with:co-opt non-native re-emerge to form some compound adjectives:easy-care head-on right-handed Don't use a hyphen between the two parts of a phrasal verb:Time to top up your gas tank. Sentence construction (syntax)Sometimes it is important to show that certain words in a sentence are meant to be read together. If the hyphen or hyphens were not used, the meaning might not be clear. Compare these two sentences:I wonder if he’s thought of a ready-to-wear collection. Our quality clothes are ready to wear. A hyphen is often used when a two-word compound is placed before a noun to modify it:The destruction caused by mink is well known. The son of a well-known actor. PrintingHyphens are also used in printed texts to split words that will not fit on to the end of a line. Rules about how words should be split can be found in some dictionaries. Many computer word-processing and desktop publishing programs offer automatic and manual hyphenation.