ETYM Latin, from Greek, under one, into one, together, from hyper under + hen one. Related to Hypo-.
A punctuation mark (-) used to break a word between syllables at the end of a line or to separate the parts of a compound word. Word processing programs with sophisticated hyphenation capabilities recognize three types of hyphens: normal, optional, and nonbreaking. Normal hyphens, also called required or hard hyphens, are part of a word’s spelling and are always visible, as in long-term. Optional hyphens, also called discretionary or soft hyphens, appear only when a word is broken between syllables at the end of a line; they are usually supplied by the word processing program itself. Nonbreaking hyphens are always visible, like normal hyphens, but they do not allow a line break. See also hyphenation program.
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; SYN. dash.
Punctuation mark (-) with two functions: to join words, parts of words, syllables, and so on, as an aid to sense; and to mark a word break at the end of a line. Adjectival compounds (see adjective) are hyphenated because they modify the noun jointly rather than separately (“a small-town boy” is a boy from a small town; “a small town boy” is a small boy from a town). The use of hyphens with adverbs is redundant unless an identical adjective exists (well, late, long): “late-blooming plant” but “brightly blooming plant”.
Phrasal verbs are not hyphenated (“things turned out well”, “it washed up on the beach”) unless used adjectivally (“a well-turned-out crowd”, “a washed-up athlete”). Nouns formed from phrasal verbs are hyphenated or joined together (“a good turnout tonight”, “please do the washing-up”). In the use of certain prefixes, modern style is moving toward omitting the hyphen (noncooperation).