en dash

Also found in: Wikipedia.

em dash vs. en dash

There are two similar but distinct punctuation marks called dashes: the en dash () and the em dash (). In appearance, an en dash is slightly longer than a hyphen ( - ), approximately the width of a capital N, while an em dash is slightly longer than an en dash, approximately the width of a capital M (hence their names).
When we refer to dashes, we are usually referring to em dashes, as they are the more common punctuation mark of the two. However, it’s important to know the different ways that each mark is used.
Continue reading...


or en dash  (ĕn′dăsh′)
A symbol ( - ) used in writing or printing to connect continuing or inclusive numbers or to connect elements of a compound adjective when either of the elements is an open compound, as 1880-1945 or Princeton-New York trains.

[From its being the width of an n in printing.]

en dash

(ˈɛnˌdæʃ) or

en rule

(Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) printing a dash (–) one en long

en′ dash`

a dash one en long.
em dash, en dash - The em dash is the long dash used in punctuation whose length is based on the width of the letter M; the en dash is shorter (the width of an N) and the hyphen is even shorter.
See also related terms for punctuation.
References in periodicals archive ?
The en dash ("-" so called because historically--you guessed it--it was the width of a typeset letter "n") should be used, rather than a hyphen, to indicate subtraction or to shown that a numeral is negative (3 - 7 = -4).
The en dash is used to show spans as in pages 45-56 or May-July.
The en dash is also used to show an association between words that retain their separate identities (e.
An em dash is the width of a capital "M"; an en dash is the width of a capital "N.
Users can visually control the flow of text in their designs by choosing from em dash, em space, en dash, en space, 1/4 em space, optional hyphen, non-breaking hyphen, nonbreaking space, and column/frame break.