The Unicode standard supplies 24 different variants on the hyphen or dash.

Because of its prevalence in legacy encodings, U+002D  -  hyphen minus   is the most common of the dash characters used to represent a hyphen. It has ambiguous semantic value and is rendered with an average width.
U+2010    hyphen   represents the hyphen as found in words such as left-to-right. It is rendered with a narrow width.
U+2011    non breaking hyphen   is present for compatibility with existing standards. It has the same semantic value as U+2010 hyphen, but should not be broken across lines.

U+2012    figure dash   also exists for compatibility. It has the same ambiguous semantics as U+002D hyphen minus, but has the same width as a digit (much like U+2007 figure space from space).
U+2013    en dash   is used to indicate a range of values, such as 1973-1984. It should be distinguished from U+2212    minus sign   which is an arithmetic operator; however, typographers have typically used en dash for typesetting the minus sign.

U+2014    em dash   is used to make a break--like this--in the flow of a sentence. It is commonly approximated with a double-hyphen.
U+2015    horizontal bar   is used to introduce quoted text in some typographic styles.

For a description of the line-breaking properties of dashes and hyphens, see Unicode Technical Report #14 Line Breaking Properties.

Note that tilde is sometimes called swing dash, and horizontal bar is sometimes called quotation dash.

The 24 characters in this category were added between Unicode versions 1.1 and 3.2

The columns below should be interpreted as :

  1. The Unicode code for the character
  2. The character in question
  3. The Unicode name for the character
  4. The Unicode General Category for the character
  5. The Unicode version when this character was added
  6. The HTML entity if any, instead of using &#xUUUU;
  7. (The SGML entities if any)

Basic Latin

U+002D  -  hyphen minus  Pd 1.1  (‐)
U+007E  ~  tilde  Sm 1.1

Latin-1 Supplement

     ISO 8859-1 aka Latin-1
U+00AD  ­  soft hyphen  Pd 1.1  ­  (­)

Spacing Modifier Letters

     miscellaneous phonetic modifiers
U+02D7  ˗  modifier letter minus sign  Sk 1.1


U+058A  ֊  Armenian hyphen  Pd 3.0


U+1806    Mongolian todo soft hyphen  Pd 3.0

General Punctuation

     formatting characters
U+2010    hyphen  Pd 1.1  (‐)
U+2011    non breaking hyphen  Pd 1.1
U+2012    figure dash  Pd 1.1
U+2013    en dash  Pd 1.1  –  (–)
U+2014    em dash  Pd 1.1  —  (—)

     general punctuation
U+2027    hyphenation point  Po 1.1

     general punctuation
U+2043    hyphen bullet  Po 1.1  (⁃)

Optical Character Recognition

U+2448    ocr dash  So 1.1

General Punctuation

     general punctuation
U+2052    commercial minus sign  Sm 3.2

Mathematical Operators

     mathematical operators
U+2212    minus sign  Sm 1.1  −  (−)

CJK Symbols and Punctuation

     CJK symbols and punctuation
U+301C    wave dash  Pd 1.1

     other CJK symbols
U+3030    wavy dash  Pd 1.1


     Katakana punctuation
U+30A0    Katakana Hiragana double hyphen  Pd 3.2

CJK Compatibility Forms

     glyphs for vertical varients
U+FE31    presentation form for vertical em dash  Pd 1.1
U+FE32    presentation form for vertical en dash  Pd 1.1

Small Form Variants

     small form variants
U+FE58    small em dash  Pd 1.1
U+FE63    small hyphen minus  Pd 1.1

Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms

     fullwidth ascii variants
U+FF0D    fullwidth hyphen minus  Pd 1.1

Lots of people have problems using hyphens so I thought it would be a good idea to add a few examples to this node.

Examples of usage

Some strong examples of semantic changes caused by the placement of hyphens:

  • Disease causing poor nutrition, meaning that a disease causes poor nutrition, and
  • Disease-causing poor nutrition, meaning that poor nutrition causes disease

  • Man-eating shark, meaning a dangerous animal, and
  • Man eating shark, which reverses the relationship between the two

  • New age-discrimination rules, meaning new rules regarding discrimination according to age, and
  • New-age discrimination rules, meaning rules regarding discrimination (not necessarily according to age) consistent with the New Age movement

    Additional examples of proper use:

    text-only document (but ... document is text only)
    Detroit-based organization (but ... organization is Detroit based)
    state-of-the-art product (but ... product is state of the art)
    board-certified strategy (but ... strategy is board certified)
    thought-provoking argument (but ... argument is thought provoking)
    time-sensitive error (but ... error is time sensitive)
    case-sensitive password (but ... password is case sensitive)
    government-issued photo ID (but ... photo ID is government issued, or, better, ... is issued by the government)
    light-gathering surface (but ... surface is light gathering)
    award-winning novel (but ... novel is award winning, or, more likely, ... won an award)
    web-based encyclopedia (but ... encyclopedia is web based)
    fun-loving person (but ... person is fun loving)
    how to wire-transfer funds
    how to tax-plan
    advertising-supported service (but ... service is advertising supported, or, better, ... is supported by advertising)
  • Hy"phen (?), n. [L., fr. Gr. , fr. under one, into one, together, fr. under + , neut. of one. See Hypo-.] Print.

    A mark or short dash, thus [-], placed at the end of a line which terminates with a syllable of a word, the remainder of which is carried to the next line; or between the parts of many a compound word; as in fine-leaved, clear-headed. It is also sometimes used to separate the syllables of words.


    © Webster 1913.

    Hy"phen, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Hyphened (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Hyphening.]

    To connect with, or separate by, a hyphen, as two words or the parts of a word.


    © Webster 1913.

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