When you're writing, a hyphen is useful for forming a compound word or separating the syllables of a word at the end of a line of text. The word merry-go-round uses two hyphens.

Often, when you join shorter individual words into one more complicated, compound word, you use a hyphen. Words like twentieth-century, well-intentioned, and high-risk are examples of hyphenated compounds. Hyphen is a Greek word that means "mark joining two syllables or words," which most likely was originally used to describe the way words should be sung.

Definitions of hyphen

n a punctuation mark (-) used between parts of a compound word or between the syllables of a word when the word is divided at the end of a line of text

Type of:
punctuation, punctuation mark
the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases

v divide or connect with a hyphen

Type of:
spell, write
write or name the letters that comprise the conventionally accepted form of (a word or part of a word)

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