Hyphenated Terms

By default, when Content indexes a hyphenated term, it stems each of its components and indexes them. It also removes the hyphen from the term, stems the resulting term, and indexes that.

For example, the following table describes the default query matching for hyphenated terms.

Indexed string Query terms matched
second-hand guitar
  • second

  • hand

  • secondhand

  • guitar

To treat other characters as hyphens, specify them in the HyphenChars configuration parameter.

For example, the following table describes the query matching for when HyphenChars=-&.

Indexed string Query terms matched
  • Barnes

  • Noble

  • BarnesNoble


To stop Content from indexing hyphenated terms this way, set HyphenChars=NONE. This means that no characters are used as HyphenChars. The default setting is HyphenChars=-.

At query time, Content tokenizes the hyphenated term as the whole term and individual subterms, all separated by the configured DefaultQueryOperator. For example, if the DefaultQueryOperator is OR (the default value), a query for second-hand becomes secondhand OR second OR hand.


If you change the DefaultQueryOperator, you might not get expected query results for hyphenated terms.

The separate parts of a hyphenated term (such as second and hand) are available only for basic keyword searches, and they do not match proximity expressions or field-restricted searches. For example, if a document contains the phrase second-hand car, a keyword search for hand matches the document, but an exact phrase search for hand car does not.

In most situations, HPE recommends that you set HyphenChars to NONE, and use the hyphen as a separator (for example, set AugmentSeparators to -). For more information, refer to IDOL Expert.