What Is the Hyphen Symbol?


Quick Answer

The hyphen symbol is a punctuation mark used to make compound words easier to read as well as to simplify words used together. It is a short horizontal line, also sometimes referred to in other contexts as a negative symbol, minus or dash.

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What Is the Hyphen Symbol?
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Full Answer

Hyphen comes from the late Latin word hyphén, meaning together. It is also a derivative of the early Greek words hyp, meaning under, and hén, meaning one. The term was first used between 1595 and 1605. Hyphen symbols are also used in computer programming and mathematics to subtract numbers from each other. In many word processors, when a word is cut off at the end of a line in a program, a hyphen is automatically inserted.

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