How to Say Hyphen in French: A Comprehensive Guide

Bonjour! If you’re curious about how to say “hyphen” in French, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore the formal and informal ways of expressing this term in French, provide some regional variations, and offer plenty of tips and examples along the way.

Formal Ways to Say Hyphen in French

When it comes to using formal language, French offers a few options to convey the meaning of “hyphen.” Here are the most commonly used ones:

  1. Trait d’union – This expression is the most frequently used formal term for “hyphen” in French. Literally translated, it means “joining stroke” or “connecting dash.” For example:

“Lorsque vous rédigez un texte, n’oubliez pas d’utiliser le trait d’union correctement.”
(When writing a text, don’t forget to use the hyphen correctly.)

Barre de fraction – Although this term is primarily used to refer to the fraction slash (/), it can also be used to indicate a hyphen, especially in more technical contexts. For instance:

“La barre de fraction est utilisée pour indiquer un trait d’union à l’intérieur des mots.”
(The fraction slash is used to indicate a hyphen within words.)

Informal Ways to Say Hyphen in French

When conversing in a more casual or informal setting, the French language provides alternative terms and expressions to refer to a hyphen. Here are a few examples:

  • Tiret – This informal term is derived from the verb “tirer,” meaning “to pull.” It is often used to describe a hyphen, especially in everyday conversations:

“En français, on utilise parfois le tiret pour séparer les mots.”
(In French, we sometimes use the hyphen to separate words.)

Signe moins – While primarily referring to the minus sign (-), “signe moins” can also be used to describe a hyphen in certain informal contexts:

“Le signe moins est utilisé pour créer un lien entre les mots.”
(The minus sign is used to create a link between words.)

Regional Variations

French is spoken in various regions around the world, and as with any language, different regions may have unique vocabulary and expressions. Here are a couple of regional variations for how to say “hyphen” in French:

Canadian French:

In Canadian French, when referring to a hyphen, the term “trait d’union” is still the most widely used and understood. However, you may also come across the following expressions:

  • Signe d’union
  • Filet
  • Join

Other French-Speaking Regions:

In other French-speaking regions, especially in areas influenced by local dialects and accents, the term “trait d’union” remains the most prevalent. However, there might be some variations due to unique regional characteristics.

Tips for Using Hyphens in French

Now that we’ve covered how to say “hyphen” in French, let’s delve into some useful tips for using hyphens correctly:

  1. Hyphenation of compound words: In French, compound words are commonly hyphenated. For example:

“arrière-grand-père” (great-grandfather)
“bien-être” (well-being)

Joining prefixes and suffixes: When adding prefixes or suffixes to words, a hyphen is usually used to link them. Example:

“pré-réserver” (to pre-book)
“auto-évaluation” (self-assessment)

Hyphenating adverbs ending in “-ment”: Many adverbs ending in “-ment” are hyphenated when used before an adjective. For instance:

“un longuement attendu événement” (a long-awaited event)

Compounds with numbers or dates: To express numbers or dates as compound words, hyphens are used. Example:

“vingt-et-un” (twenty-one)
“dix-septième siècle” (seventeenth century)

Remember, correct hyphenation can vary depending on context, so consulting reputable style guides or dictionaries is always recommended for additional guidance.


Voilà! You now know how to say “hyphen” in French. Whether you opt for the formal “trait d’union” or the more informal “tiret,” you’re well-equipped to communicate about this linguistic element. Additionally, we explored some regional variations, gave you useful tips, and provided numerous examples to enhance your understanding. Bonne continuation! (Good luck!)

Written by Maxwell Johnnie

Bonjour! I'm Maxwell, a linguist with a penchant for all things French. I spend my time diving into the intricacies of the French language and sharing my discoveries. From formal expressions to street lingos, I've got you covered! When I'm not busy exploring new French phrases, I'm probably cooking a traditional French dish or fostering my love for classic French cinema. Come aboard my linguistic journey, c'est magnifique!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How to Say Ocean: A Comprehensive Guide

Guide: How to Say Bronya – Formal and Informal Ways