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"-" redirects here. For other uses, see - (disambiguation).
apostrophe   '
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full stop, period .
hyphen-minus -
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The hyphen-minus (-) is a character used in digital documents and computing to represent a hyphen () or a minus sign (−).[1] It is present in Unicode as code point U+002D - hyphen-minus; it is also in ASCII with the same value.

The use of one character for hyphen and minus, and sometimes also for en dash, was a compromise made in the early days of fixed-width typewriters and computer displays. However, in proper typesetting and graphic design, there are distinct characters for hyphens, dashes, and the minus sign. Usage of the hyphen-minus nonetheless persists in many contexts, as it is well-known, easy to enter on keyboards, and in the same location in all common character sets.

Most programming languages, restricting themselves to ASCII, use the hyphen-minus, rather than the Unicode character U+2212 minus sign, for denoting subtraction and negative numbers.

The en dash is preferred when dealing with ranges, such as 2000–2004, video games being often an exception.

Historically, an em dash is represented by three hyphen-minus signs in succession (as later in TeX markup), or sometimes two. Microsoft Word typically allows the user to enter an em dash by typing two hyphen-minus signs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jukka K. Korpela (2006). Unicode explained. O'Reilly. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-596-10121-3.