I refer to those right under the relevant word in large font, to be defined and explained:

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http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/atavistic?q=atavism#atavistic__5: There are 1 solid vertical lines and 2 dashed.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/tergiversate: There are 2 solid vertical lines and 1 dashed.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/scission: There is 1 solid vertical line only.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/jejune: There is 1 dashed vertical line only.

  • If you can, please update with current links that illustrate the topic. May 18, 2021 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


I would assume they indicate how to break the word if you have to split over more than one line. The difference between the solid and the dashed lines seems to indicate the preference: if possible, break on the solid line, only break on the dashed line if you have no other option.

So for ter|gi¦ver|sate, that would mean:

Preferred, no break:

There is plenty of space on my line for a word like tergiversate and I don't break it.

If I need to break the word, I prefer to do it like this:

Not much space on shorter line, so ter-
giversate is broken like so. But tergiver-
sate is an option too if I want.

If all else fails, I have one last option:

Short lines, and for tergi-
versate I have no space.

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