Compound Nouns: Definition, Types, Formation and Useful Examples

What are compound nouns? In this article, we will explore what compound nouns are, how they are formed, and provide examples of common compound nouns in everyday use. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of compound nouns and be able to use them confidently in your own writing and conversations.

Compound Nouns – Picture

Compound NounsPin

What Are Compound Nouns?

Definition

A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words that function as a single unit to name a person, place, thing, or idea. These words can be combined in different ways, including hyphenated, open, and closed compounds.

Compound Nouns Examples

Some common types of compound nouns include:

  • Noun + Noun: toothbrush, football, bookshelf
  • Adjective + Noun: blackboard, hotdog, blueberry
  • Verb + Noun: swimwear, breakfast, pickpocket, washroom
  • Noun + Verb: sunburn, raincoat, snowball
  • Noun + Preposition: outfield, underground
  • Preposition + Noun: overcoat, underdog, off-ramp

Compound nouns can also be hyphenated, such as well-being or mother-in-law, or written as separate words, such as high school or swimming pool.

Here are some additional examples of compound nouns in English:

  • Compound Nouns: greenhouse, toothpaste, jellyfish
  • Noun: car, house, dog
  • Nouns: teacher, student, parent
  • English: language, literature, culture
  • Thing: computer, phone, table
  • Words: grammar, vocabulary, spelling
  • Hyphen: self-esteem, sister-in-law, state-of-the-art
  • Hyphenated Compound Nouns: mother-in-law, editor-in-chief, attorney-at-law
  • Open Compound Nouns: ice cream, post office, swimming pool
  • Closed Compound Nouns: bookstore, bookstore, football

Types of Compound Nouns

Compound nouns are formed by combining two or more words to create a new word with a new meaning. There are three types of compound nouns: closed, open, and hyphenated.

Closed Compound Nouns

Closed compound nouns are written as a single word with no spaces or hyphens between the words. They are also known as solid compound nouns. Examples include “toothpaste,” “sunset,” and “butterfly.”

Here are some other examples:

  • Basketball
  • Newspaper
  • Toothbrush
  • Headache
  • Bedroom
  • Sunflower
  • Seashell
  • Raincoat
  • Earthquake
  • Windshield

Open Compound Nouns

Open compound nouns consist of two or more words written separately. There are no hyphens or spaces between the words. Examples of open compound nouns include “ice cream,” “high school,” and “coffee table.”

Here are some other examples:

  • Ice cream
  • High school
  • Swimming pool
  • Traffic light
  • School bus
  • Post office
  • Full moon
  • Rain forest
  • Bird house
  • Tennis court

Hyphenated Compound Nouns

Hyphenated compound nouns are formed by connecting two or more words with hyphens. They are also known as hyphenated compound words. Examples include “mother-in-law,” “well-being,” and “self-esteem.”

It is important to note that some compound nouns can be written in different ways, depending on the context and the writer’s preference. For example, “high school” can also be written as “high-school” or “highschool.”

Here are some other examples:

  • Self-esteem
  • Mother-in-law
  • Editor-in-chief
  • Decision-making
  • Twenty-one
  • Up-to-date
  • State-of-the-art
  • One-eyed
  • Part-time
  • Jack-o’-lantern

In general, closed compound nouns are more common in American English, while open and hyphenated compound nouns are more common in British English. However, this is not a strict rule, and there are many exceptions.

Compound Nouns List

  • Thunderstorm
  • Toothpaste
  • Coffeehouse
  • Firefly
  • Keyboard
  • Grapefruit
  • Earthquake
  • Ice cream
  • Toothpick
  • Butterfly
  • Sunscreen
  • Snowflake
  • Moonshine
  • Dishwasher
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Headache
  • Honeymoon
  • Airfare
  • Hairbrush
  • Rainforest
  • Lipstick
  • Jellybean
  • Bookstore
  • Cupcake
  • Backpack
  • Blueberry
  • Blackboard
  • Teaspoon
  • Newspaper
  • Earphones
  • Waterfall
  • Toothache
  • Pancake
  • Firefighter
  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Sunflower
  • Snowman
  • Headphones
  • Football
  • Buttercup
  • Airplane
  • Raincoat
  • Teapot
  • Moonlight
  • Hotdog
  • Skateboard
  • Fishbowl
  • Grapevine

Formation of Compound Nouns

Compound nouns are formed by combining two or more words to create a new word with a new meaning. Compound nouns can be formed using different combinations of words, including nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, and more. In this section, we will explore the different ways in which compound nouns can be formed.

Noun + Noun

One of the most common ways of forming compound nouns is by combining two nouns. The first noun modifies the second noun to create a new word with a new meaning. For example, “bookshelf” is a compound noun formed by combining the nouns “book” and “shelf”. Other examples include “toothbrush”, “football”, and “sunflower”.

Here are some other examples:

  • Coffee table
  • Football stadium
  • Bus stop
  • Bookstore
  • Dog house
  • Shoe store
  • Tennis shoe
  • Swimming pool
  • Rain forest
  • Fruit salad

Adjective + Noun

Another way of forming compound nouns is by combining an adjective and a noun. The adjective modifies the noun to create a new word with a new meaning. For example, “blackboard” is a compound noun formed by combining the adjective “black” and the noun “board”. Other examples include “blueberry”, “redhead”, and “hardship”.

Here are other examples:

  • Blueberry
  • Redhead
  • Happy hour
  • Darkroom
  • Fast food
  • Bigfoot
  • Sweetheart
  • Softball
  • Cold water
  • Sunny day

Verb + Noun

Compound nouns can also be formed by combining a verb and a noun. The verb acts as an adjective, modifying the noun to create a new word with a new meaning. For example, “swimming pool” is a compound noun formed by combining the verb “swimming” and the noun “pool”. Other examples include “washing machine”, “drinking water”, and “running shoes”.

Here are some examples:

  • Swimsuit
  • Breakwater
  • Runway
  • Headlight
  • Haircut
  • Bookshelf
  • Sunset
  • Watchdog
  • Highlight
  • Ice cream

Noun + Verb

Compound nouns can also be formed by combining a noun and a verb. The noun acts as the subject of the verb, creating a new word with a new meaning. For example, “firefighter” is a compound noun formed by combining the noun “fire” and the verb “fight”. Other examples include “bookkeeper”, “lighthouse”, and “sunrise”.

Here are some examples:

  1. Car wash
  2. Time travel
  3. Doorstop
  4. Watercolor
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Air travel
  7. Wordplay
  8. Hair dye
  9. Blood test
  10. Fireworks

Noun + Preposition

Compound nouns can also be formed by combining a noun and a preposition. The preposition modifies the noun to create a new word with a new meaning. For example, “passerby” is a compound noun formed by combining the noun “passer” and the preposition “by”. Other examples include “outlook”, “upstairs”, and “underground”.

Here are some other examples:

  • Outfit of the day (OOTD)
  • Point of view (POV)
  • State of mind
  • Wall of fame
  • Heart of gold
  • Bag of tricks
  • Book of knowledge
  • Game plan
  • Body of water
  • Chain of command

Preposition + Noun

Finally, compound nouns can be formed by combining a preposition and a noun. The preposition acts as an adverb, modifying the noun to create a new word with a new meaning. For example, “afternoon” is a compound noun formed by combining the preposition “after” and the noun “noon”. Other examples include “overcoat”, “underpass”, and “behindhand”.

  • Offspring
  • Outback
  • Overcoat
  • Underdog
  • Overtime
  • Overdrive
  • Outfield
  • Underpass
  • Bylaw
  • Afterthought

Pluralizing Compound Nouns

When it comes to pluralizing compound nouns, there are some general rules to follow, as well as some exceptions to keep in mind.

General Rules

  1. Pluralize the main word. The main word in the compound noun is the one that gives the noun its meaning. For example, in “toothbrush,” “tooth” is the main word. To pluralize the compound noun, you simply pluralize the main word: “toothbrushes.”
  2. Pluralize both words. If the compound noun is made up of two equally important words, you can pluralize both of them. For example, in “sister-in-law,” both “sister” and “law” are equally important, so you would pluralize both: “sisters-in-law.”
  3. Use the same word twice. In some cases, you may need to use the same word twice to pluralize the compound noun. For example, in “attorneys general,” you would use “attorneys” twice: “attorneys general.”

Exceptions

  1. Irregular plurals. Some compound nouns have irregular plurals. For example, “man” becomes “men,” but in “man-made,” the plural is “man-made.” Similarly, “foot” becomes “feet,” but in “footprint,” the plural is “footprints.”
  2. No change. Some compound nouns do not change when pluralized. For example, “deer” is already plural, so “deer” is used for both singular and plural.
  3. Hyphenated compound nouns. If the compound noun is hyphenated, you can usually pluralize it by following the general rules above. For example, in “self-esteem,” you would pluralize “self” to get “selves” and “esteem” to get “esteems,” resulting in “self-esteems.”

Common Compound Nouns

Compound nouns are nouns that are formed by joining two or more words together to create a new word. These words can be formed by combining two nouns, a noun and an adjective, or a verb and a noun. Compound nouns are used in everyday language and can be found in various forms, including people, places, and things.

People

Compound nouns are often used to describe people, especially family members. Some common compound nouns that describe family members include:

  • Mother-in-law
  • Father-in-law
  • Sisters-in-law
  • Son-in-law

Another common compound noun that describes a person is “lady-in-waiting,” which refers to a woman who attends a queen or princess.

Places

Compound nouns are also used to describe places, such as:

  • Swimming pool
  • Post office
  • Town square
  • Greenhouse
  • Bus stop

These compound nouns are formed by combining a noun and another word, such as “swimming” and “pool” to form “swimming pool.”

Things

Compound nouns are also used to describe things, such as:

  • Washing machine
  • Basketball
  • Snowfall
  • Boat
  • Garden

These compound nouns are formed by combining two nouns, such as “washing” and “machine” to form “washing machine.”

Other common compound nouns include “birthday,” “rainfall,” “swimsuit,” “toothpaste,” and “breakfast.”

Compound nouns can also be formed by combining numbers and nouns, such as “six-pack” and “cupful.”

In addition to these common compound nouns, there are many others that are used in everyday language. Compound nouns can be found in various forms, including people, places, and things. They are a useful tool for creating new words and describing complex ideas in a clear and concise manner.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
1