In Catholic theology, the word “Coredemptrix” (syllabified “Co‑re‑demp‑trix”) is a title sometimes applied to Mary, the mother of Jesus. But occasionally, you’ll find the word with a hyphen inserted, as in “Co‑redemptrix” (together with its much rarer case-variants: “Co‑Redemptrix” and “co‑Redemptrix”).

I find this to be fascinating from a linguistic standpoint, because the hyphen actually changes the meaning of the word. This treatise is meant to make a linguistic point, not a theological one. I’m not trying to argue for or against the title itself. But since this is a semantic inquiry, we must begin by establishing what a theologian would mean by the word.