Just as the heading says: How do we hyphenate (in the sense of: divide at the end of a line) the word configurable?

  • I was quite surprised that Merriam-Webster doesn't know that word.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary neither shows hyphenation nor syllabication.
  • Microsoft Word 2010 offers con-fig-u-ra-ble, which I believe to be incorrect since I have read somewhere that a- at the end of a line, followed by ble at the begin of the next line would mislead the reader in most cases, and that able therefore usually should be kept together.
  • hunspell (which drives most open-source projects like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and the like) says con+fig+urable, which I believe to be correct, but not complete.

My personal feeling is that it could be con+fig+ur+able, but as a native German speaker who never has been in a country where English is spoken as primary language, I am lost at this point.

Could somebody please help me out?


1 Answer 1


Hyphenation for breaking words across lines in English is quite arcane — see this question.

In AmE, it should be


We hyphenate configure as con-fig-ure, as dictionaries can tell you. The ur should not be broken up because it's an r-influenced vowel, and American English doesn't usually break them up. And the ending should be hyphenated as in pleasurable (plea-sur-able), whose ending is pronounced the same.

British English hyphenates r-influenced vowels different from American English, and I don't know what the rules are. But I don't think anybody is going to object if you use the AmE hyphenation for this word.

  • Thank you very much, +1 and accepted. In fact, I am more after American English than after British English. So AmE does not keep able together in most cases? Could you please give a short explanation regarding the difference between configurable and pleasurablewith respect to the able (-ur-a-ble in one case and -ur-able in the other)?
    – Binarus
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:02
  • 1
    Actually, that was a typo. I meant to write -able. However, this depends on the dictionary. American Heritage Dictionary breaks these words -a-ble. But Merriam-Webster keeps -able together (which would be my recommendation). This discrepancy is why my answer was inconsistent. Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 16:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.