AskDefine | Define dash

Dictionary Definition



1 distinctive and stylish elegance; "he wooed her with the confident dash of a cavalry officer" [syn: elan, flair, panache, style]
2 a quick run [syn: sprint]
3 a footrace run at top speed; "he is preparing for the 100-yard dash"
4 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: hyphen]
5 the longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code [syn: dah]
6 the act of moving with great haste; "he made a dash for the door" [syn: bolt]


1 run or move very quickly or hastily; "She dashed into the yard" [syn: dart, scoot, scud, flash, shoot]
2 break into pieces, as by striking or knocking over; "Smash a plate" [syn: smash]
3 hurl or thrust violently; "He dashed the plate against the wall"; "Waves were dashing against the rock" [syn: crash]
4 destroy or break; "dashed ambitions and hopes"
5 cause to lose courage; "dashed by the refusal" [syn: daunt, scare off, pall, frighten off, scare away, frighten away, scare]
6 add an enlivening or altering element to; "blue paint dashed with white"

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The symbol (en-dash) or (em-dash)
    sometimes dash is also used colloquially to refer to the symbol - (hyphen)
  2. A short run.
  3. A small quantity of a liquid substance; less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.
    Add a dash of vinegar
  4. A dashboard.
  5. One of the two symbols of Morse code.


typographic symbol
short run
small quantity of liquid
  • Dutch: scheutje
  • Polish: kropla
  • Spanish: gota, pizca


  1. To run quickly or for a short distance.
    He dashed across the field.
  2. In the context of "intransitive|informal": To leave or depart.
    I have to dash now. See you soon.
  3. To destroy by striking (against).
    He dashed the bottle against the bar and turned about to fight.
  4. To throw violently.
    The man was dashed from the vehicle during the accident.
  5. To sprinkle; to splatter.
  6. To ruin; to destroy.
    Her hopes were dashed when she saw the damage.
  7. To dishearten; to sadden.
    Her thoughts were dashed to melancholy.
  8. To complete hastily, usually with down or off.
    He dashed down his eggs, she dashed off her homework


to run short distance
to leave
to ruin
to destroy
  • Spanish: romper
to throw violently
  • Spanish: arrojar, lanzar
to sprinkle
to ruin
  • Spanish: salpicar
to dishearten
  • Spanish: frustrar
to complete hastily


  1. Damn!



See also

Extensive Definition

A dash is a punctuation mark. It is longer than a hyphen and is used differently.

Common dashes

There are several forms of dash, of which the most common are:


The hyphen is used both to join words and to separate syllables. Strictly speaking, the hyphen is not a dash; thus, careful typesetting (including with modern computer applications, such as word processors and HTML) relies on the following proper dashes instead.

Figure dash

The figure dash is so named because it is the same width as a digit, at least in typefaces with digits of equal width.
The figure dash is used when a dash must be used within numbers, for example with telephone numbers: 8675309. This does not indicate a range (en dash is used for that), or function as the minus sign (which has its own glyph).
The figure dash is often unavailable; in this case, one may use a hyphen-minus instead. In Unicode, the figure dash is (decimal 8210). HTML authors must use the numeric forms ‒ or ‒ to type it unless the file is in Unicode; there is no equivalent character entity. In TeX, the standard fonts have no figure dash; however, the digits normally all have the same width as the en dash, so an en dash can be substituted in TeX.

En dash

The en dash, or n dash, n-rule, etc., (–) is roughly the width of the letter n. It is half the size of an em dash.
The en dash is used in ranges, such as 6–10 years, read as "six to ten years".

Ranges of values

The en dash is commonly used to indicate a closed range (a range with clearly defined and non-infinite upper and lower boundaries) of values, such as those between dates, times, or numbers.
Some examples of this usage:
  • June–July 1967
  • 1:00–2:00 p.m.
  • For ages 3–5
  • pp. 38–55
  • President Jimmy Carter (1977–1981)
The Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) recommends that the word to be used instead of an en dash when a number range might be misconstrued as subtraction, such as a range of units. For example, "a voltage of 50 V to 100 V" rather than "a voltage of 50 – 100 V".
It is also considered inappropriate to use the en dash in place of the words to and and in phrases that follow the forms and between...and.... That is, the Chicago Manual of Style rules specify en dash in these:
  • Notre Dame beat Miami 31–30.
  • New York–London flight.
  • The Supreme Court voted 5–4 to uphold the decision.
but hyphens in these:

Compound adjectives

The en dash can be used instead of a hyphen in compound adjectives in which one part consists of two words or a hyphenated word:
Traditionally an em dash—like so—or a spaced em dash — like so — has been used for a dash in running text. The Elements of Typographic Style recommends the more concise spaced en dash – like so – and argues that the length and visual magnitude of an em dash "belongs to the padded and corseted aesthetic of Victorian typography." The spaced en dash is also the house style for certain major publishers (Penguin, Cambridge University Press, and Routledge among them). However, some longstanding typographical guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style still recommend unspaced em dashes for this purpose. The Oxford Guide to Style (2002, section 5.10.10) acknowledges that this style is used by "other British publishers", but observes that Oxford University Press (OUP) does not use it. In practice, there is little consensus, and it is a matter of personal or house taste.
The en dash (always with spaces, in running text) and the spaced em dash both have a certain technical advantage over the unspaced em dash. In most typesetting and most word processing, the spacing between words is expected to be variable, so there can be full justification. Alone among punctuation that marks pauses or logical relations in text, the unspaced em dash disables this for the words between which it falls. The effect can be uneven spacing in the text.
En dashes are often preferred to em dashes when text is set in narrow columns (as in newspapers and similar publications).
The spaced em dash risks introducing excessive separation of words: it is already long, and the spaces increase the separation. In full justification, the adjacent spaces may be stretched, and the separation of words is further exaggerated.
Regardless of any other variations, the em dash should never be used in number ranges.

Horizontal bar

The horizontal bar or quotation dash is used to introduce quoted text. This is the standard method of printing dialogue in some languages (see the quotation dash section of the Quotation mark article for further details of how it is used).
If the quotation dash is unavailable, then the em dash can be used instead. In Unicode, the quotation dash is U+2015 (decimal 8213). In HTML, it can be input only with the numeric form, ― or ―; there is no equivalent character entity. But for web pages one generally uses the em dash. There is no support in the standard TeX fonts, but one can use \hbox\kern-.5em--- instead (or just use an em dash).

Swung dash

The swung dash (\sim or ~;) resembles a lengthened tilde, and is used to separate alternatives or approximates. In dictionaries, it is frequently used to stand in for the defined term in example text. This character was added since Unicode 4.0.0. Note that there are several similar characters: ∼ (U+223C: TILDE OPERATOR), ⁓ (U+2053: SWUNG DASH), and 〜 (U+301C: WAVE DASH).
  • henceforth (adverb), from this time forth; from now on; "\sim she will be known as Mrs. Smith".
In Japanese the swung dash (formally, the wave dash) is often used to indicate an extension of a vowel in slang. (See Japanese punctuation#Wave dash).
In Japanese and Korean the swung dash is often used in place of an en dash. In Chinese, the swung dash and the em dash can be used interchangeably to express a range.
The swung dash in Unicode is U+2053 (decimal 8275). In HTML, it can be input only with the numeric form, ⁓ or ⁓; there is no equivalent HTML entity.
In LaTeX2ε, one can use the math mode command $\sim$, which yields the tilde operator.

Other dash-like characters

The are several characters which resemble dashes but have different meanings and uses. These include:
  • The hyphen-minus (-), Unicode U+002D, is the standard ASCII hyphen. It looks like a dash, but should only be used as such when proper dashes are unavailable. Sometimes this is used in groups to indicate different types of dash.
  • The tilde (~), U+007E, is a diacritic mark.
  • The underscore (_), U+005F, is either a diacritic mark, or a character replacing a standard space.
  • The macron , U+00AF, is another diacritic mark.
  • The soft hyphen (U+00AD) is used to indicate where a line may break, as in a compound word or between syllables.
  • The hyphen , U+2010, is a character which, unlike the ASCII hyphen, always represents a hyphen.
  • The hyphen bullet , U+2043, is a short horizontal line used as a list bullet.
  • The minus sign (−), U+2212, −, is an arithmetic operator used in mathematics to represent subtraction or negative numbers.
  • The wave dash , U+301C, and the wavy dash , U+3030, are wavy lines found in some East Asian character sets. Typographically, they have the width of one CJK character cell (fullwidth form), and follow the direction of the text (horizontal for horizontal text, vertical for columnar). They are used as dashes, and occasionally as emphatic variants of the katakana vowel extender mark.
  • The Armenian hyphen , U+058A, is a hyphen from the Armenian alphabet.
  • The Hebrew Maqaf , U+05BE, is a hyphen-like character from the Hebrew alphabet.
  • The Mongolian todo hyphen , U+1806, is a hyphen from the Mongolian alphabet.
  • The Hangul Jungseong Eu ( U+3161 or U+1173) is used in Korean to indicate the sound [ɨ].
  • The Japanese chōon , U+30FC, is used in Japanese to indicate a long vowel.
  • The yī/ichi , U+4E00, is a Chinese Character which means "one" in both Chinese and Japanese.

Rendering dashes on computers

Typewriters and computers have traditionally had only a limited character set, often having no key with which to produce a dash. In consequence, it became common to substitute the nearest incorrect punctuation mark or symbol. Em dashes are often represented by a pair of spaces surrounding a single hyphen-minus (typical British usage) or by a pair of spaces surrounding two hyphen-minuses (mostly in the United States).
Modern computer software typically has support for many more characters, and is usually capable of rendering both the en and em dashes correctly—albeit sometimes with a little inconvenience for the user who has to input them. Some software, though, may operate in a more limited mode. Some text editors, for example, are restricted to working with a single 8-bit character encoding, and when unencodable characters are entered (e.g., by pasting from the clipboard), they are often blindly converted to question marks. Sometimes this happens to em and en dashes, even when the 8-bit encoding supports them, or when an alternative representation using hyphen-minuses would seem to be an option.
Any kind of dash can manifest directly in an HTML document, but HTML also allows them to be entered as character entity references. The entity names for the em dash and the en dash are mdash and ndash; therefore, they can be referenced in HTML as — and –. The equivalent numeric character references are — and –. Nearly all web browsers and operating systems used today are capable of rendering the numeric form, and almost as many correctly display the named form.
  • In Unicode, the figure dash, en dash, em dash, quotation dash, and swung dash correspond to characters U+2012, U+2013, U+2014, U+2015, and U+2053, respectively.
  • In Mac OS using the Australian, British, Canadian, German, Irish, Irish Extended, Russian, U.S., or U.S. Extended keyboard layout, an en dash can be obtained by typing option-hyphen, while an em dash can be typed with option-shift-hyphen.
  • In TeX, an em dash is typed as three hyphens ("---"), an en dash as two hyphens ("--"), and a hyphen-minus as one hyphen ("-"). Mathematical minus is signified as "$-$".
  • On Plan 9 systems, an en or em dash may be entered by pressing the Compose key (usually left Alt), followed by typing en or em respectively.
  • In Microsoft Windows an en or em dash may be typed into most text areas by holding down the Alt key and pressing 0150 or 0151 respectively. The numbers must be typed on the numeric keypad with num lock turned on.
  • With Microsoft Words default settings (both Windows and Macintosh versions), an em dash symbol (not always a true em dash from the font) is automatically produced by Autocorrect when two unspaced hyphens are entered between words ("word--word"). An en dash (again, not always a true en dash from the font) is automatically produced when one or two hyphens surrounded by spaces are entered: ("word - word") or ("word -- word"). This feature can be disabled by customising Autocorrect. Other dashes, spaces, and special characters are possible, found through Tools → Customize… → Keyboard… → Common Symbols. Unassigned symbols (such as the true minus sign) can be assigned keyboard shortcuts through Insert → Symbol… → (select desired symbol) → Shortcut key… . To determine if the true en or em dash from the font are being used rather than a crossreferenced character from the Symbol font, copy and paste samples of the dashes into a text editor such as Windows Notepad. Using the true dash is important if one ever needs to share documents with other users in other applications or operating systems.In Word for Windows, an em dash can be typed with ctrl+alt+numeric hyphen (on the numeric keypad, usually in the top right corner), and an en dash can be typed with ctrl+numeric hyphen. This will not work with the hyphen key on the main keyboard (usually between "0" and "="), which has completely different functions associated with it.
In professionally printed documents, the typographer sometimes adds hair space, or, rarely, a full inter-word space, on either side of an em dash. In HTML it is possible to generate a hair space using the numeric character reference  , but current-generation web browsers are not uniformly supportive of this character, and may render it incorrectly.
dash in Chuvash: Тире
dash in Danish: Tankestreg
dash in German: Halbgeviertstrich#Gedankenstrich
dash in Spanish: Raya (puntuación)
dash in Finnish: Viivamerkit
dash in French: Tiret
dash in Hebrew: מקף
dash in Croatian: Crtica (pravopis)
dash in Hungarian: Nagykötőjel
dash in Japanese: ダッシュ (記号)
dash in Polish: Pauza (znak typograficzny)
dash in Portuguese: Travessão
dash in Russian: Тире
dash in Swedish: Streck (typografi)
dash in Thai: ยัติภาค
dash in Walloon: Tiret
dash in Chinese: 连接号

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Le Mans, abruptly, aggressiveness, air race, animation, ardor, asperge, automobile race, baffle, bafflement, balk, band, bang, bar, bash, bat, be poised, beat, beat down, beating, bedew, belt, bespatter, besprinkle, betrayed hope, bicycle race, biff, bilk, billow, bit, blast, blasted expectation, blatancy, blaze, blaze a trail, blazon, blemish, blight, blighted hope, blotch, blow, boat race, boil, bolt, bonk, bound, bowl, brand, brave, bravura, brazenness, break, brilliancy, brio, buffet, bundle, burst, burst of speed, bustle, canter, career, cast, cast down, catapult, chalk, chalk up, challenge, charge, chase, check, check off, checkmate, chop, chuck, chunk, cicatrize, circumvent, clap, clip, clobber, clout, clump, coldcock, colorfulness, comb, comedown, confound, confront, contest of speed, contravene, counter, counteract, countermand, counterwork, crack, crash, cross, cross-country race, cross-hatching, crowd, crudeness, cruel disappointment, crush, cut, dabble, damp, dampen, dampen the spirits, dapple, daring, darken, dart, dash off, dash on, dashed hope, dazzle, dazzlingness, dead run, deal, deal a blow, deck, defeat, defeat expectation, define, defy, deject, delimit, delineation, demarcate, demonstration, demoralize, depress, derby, destroy, dew, diagonal, dig, dint, disappoint, disappointment, discolor, discomfit, discomfiture, disconcert, discountenance, discourage, dish, dishearten, disillusion, disillusionment, dispirit, display, disrupt, dissatisfaction, dissatisfy, dog race, dogtrot, dot, dotted line, double-time, douche, drag race, dramatics, drive, drop, drub, drubbing, drumming, ebb and flow, eclat, elan, elude, endurance race, energy, engrave, enterprise, esprit, etalage, exhibition, exhibitionism, extravagance, extravaganza, extravagation, failure, fallen countenance, false front, fanfaronade, fervor, festinate, fetch, fetch a blow, fiasco, figure, fire, fizzle, flagrancy, flair, flamboyance, flank speed, flashiness, flat-out speed, flaunt, flaunting, fleck, fling, flip, flourish, flummox, flurry, flutter, fly, foil, foiling, footrace, force, forced draft, fork, forlorn hope, fragment, freckle, frustrate, frustration, full gallop, fusillade, gaiety, gallop, garishness, gash, gaudery, gaudiness, get going, get moving, get-up-and-go, ginger, glare, gleam, glitter, gorgeousness, hachure, hairline, hand gallop, haste, hasten, hastily, hatch, hatching, headlong rush, heat, heave, heavy right foot, helter-skelter, hie, high lope, hint, histrionics, hit, hit a clip, hope deferred, hose, hose down, humect, humectate, humidify, hump, hump it, hurdle race, hurl, hurry, hurry on, hurry through, hurry up, hurry-scurry, hurtle, hustle, idea, impetuously, impress, impression, impressiveness, imprint, impulsively, infusion, initiative, inkling, intensity, intimation, irrigate, jab, jauntiness, jazziness, jerk, jog trot, kick, knock, knock cold, knock down, knock out, knock the chocks, lance, lap, lash, launch, leap, let down, let fly, let have it, letdown, lick, life, lift, like a flash, like a thunderbolt, line, lineation, liveliness, lob, look, lope, lose no time, loudness, lower, lower the spirits, luridness, make a mark, make haste, manifestation, marathon, marathon race, mark, mark off, mark out, match race, maximum speed, meretriciousness, might, mirage, moisten, motorcycle race, mottle, move quickly, nick, nip, nonplus, notch, obliterate, obstacle race, obtrusiveness, of a sudden, on short notice, oomph, open throttle, oppress, overcome, paddle, pageant, pageantry, panache, parade, pass, paste, peak, peg, pelt, pencil, pep, pepper, perplex, piece, pinch, piquancy, piss and vinegar, pitch, pitchfork, pizzazz, plop, plump, plunge, plunk, poignancy, point, poke, poop, pop, popple, post, potato race, pound, power, precipitantly, precipitately, precipitously, press down, press on, prick, print, prostrate, psych out, punch, punctuate, puncture, pungency, push, push on, put, put the shot, race, raciness, rap, regatta, relay, relay race, riddle, rise, rise and fall, road race, roll, ruin, run, rush, rush through, sabotage, sack race, sadden, sauce, scamper, scar, scarify, scend, scintilla, scoot, score, scotch, scour, scramble, scratch, scribble, scud, scurry, scuttle, seal, seam, seasoning, send, sensationalism, serve, setback, shade, shadow, shake, sham, shamelessness, sharp, shatter, shiver, shoot, show, showiness, showing-off, shy, sink, sip, skedaddle, skin, slam, slap, slash, sling, slobber, slog, slop, slosh, slug, smack, smash, smattering, smell, smidgen, smidgin, smite, snap, soak, sock, sore disappointment, soupcon, sparge, spark, sparkle, spatter, speck, speckle, spectacle, speed, speedway race, spice, spike, spirit, splash, splatter, split, splotch, splurge, spoil, sponge, sportiness, spot, spray, spring, sprinkle, sprinkling, sprint, sprint race, spunk, spurt, staginess, stain, stamp, starch, startlingly, step on it, stigmatize, stock-car race, stonewall, streak, streaking, strength, striate, striation, strike, strike at, strip, stripe, striping, stroke, stump, style, sublineation, sudden, suddenly, suggestion, sup, surge, surprisingly, suspicion, swash, swat, swell, swing, swipe, syringe, tad, taint, tantalization, tantalize, taste, tattoo, tawdriness, tear, tease, tempering, theatrics, thought, three-legged race, throw, thrust, thump, thwack, thwart, tick, tick off, tilt, tinct, tincture, tinge, tint, torch race, toss, touch, trace, track race, trifle, trot, unawares, unbrace, underline, underlining, underscore, underscoring, undo, undulate, unexpectedly, unman, unnerve, unstring, upset, vaunt, vehemence, verve, vestige, vigor, vim, virgule, vivacity, vividness, vulgarness, walk, wallop, water, wave, weigh heavy upon, weigh upon, wet, wet down, whack, wham, whop, wide-open speed, without notice, without warning, yacht race, yerk, zest, zing, zip
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