Compound Nouns

What Are Compound Nouns? (with Examples)

homeglossaryCompound Nouns
A compound noun is one comprising at least two words. (Sometimes, they are hyphenated.)

Examples of Compound Nouns

Here are some examples of compound nouns:

  • Mother-in-law
  • Board of Members
  • Court-martial
  • Forget-me-not
  • Manservant
  • Cooking-oil
  • Hyphens in Compound Nouns

    There are three forms for compound nouns:
    • With Spaces: swimming pool, grey matter, fish tank
    • Without Spaces: shotgun, housework, eyelid
    • With Hyphens: baby-sitter, laughing-gas, daughter-in-law
    There are no definitive rules on which form to use. You have to use your spellchecker or a dictionary. Be aware that many of the words exist in several forms.


    Composition of Compound Nouns

    Most compound nouns are made up of two nouns or an adjective and a noun. For example:
    • Noun + Noun: Bath tub, witchcraft, seaman, wall-paper
    • Adjective + Noun: Hardware, highway, full moon, whiteboard
    However, there are other combinations:
    Part of Speech+Part of Speech=Compound Noun
    Sauce (noun)+Pan (noun)=Saucepan
    Soft (adjective)+Ware (noun)=Software
    Break (verb)
    Washing (verbal)
    +Fast (noun)
    Machine (noun)
    Washing machine
    Sun (noun)+Rise (verb)=Sunrise
    In (preposition)+Flux (noun)=Influx
    Out (preposition)+Put (Verb)=Output
    Check (verb)+Out (preposition)=Checkout

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