Compound Adjectives - Explore Meaning, Definition, Types, Usage and Examples

Describing someone or something is always a common characteristic of human beings. Being able to use the right adjectives to describe a particular person, animal, place or object is a skill. Sometimes, it so happens that you might require more than a plain adjective to describe it. It is in these scenarios that compound adjectives come to use. Learn all you need to know about compound adjectives and their usage in this article. Take a look at the different types of compound adjectives and the examples given below to have a fair idea of the same.

Table of Contents

What is a Compound Adjective?

A compound adjective is a combination of two or more words which can perform the role of an adjective in a sentence. A compound adjective is formed by adding a noun, a present participle, or a past participle to the adjective. In some cases, the adjective is preceded by either of these and in other cases, the adjective is followed by either of them. Compound adjectives are mostly hyphenated.

Definition of a Compound Adjective

A compound adjective, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is “formed of two or more parts.” According to the Collins Dictionary, “in grammar, a compound noun, adjective, or verb is one that is made up of two or more words, for example fire engine, bottle-green, and force-feed.”

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “a compound word is two or more words linked together to produce a word with a new meaning.” So, any other part of speech that is combined with an adjective to mean something else and describe the subject or object in a sentence can be said to be a compound adjective.

Types of Compound Adjectives with Examples

Based on the different parts of speech or verb forms that are combined with an adjective to form compound adjectives, we can segregate them into various types. Take a look at the table given below to find out.

Word 1

Word 2

Compound Words

Examples

White (Adjective)

Collar (Noun)

White-collar

Do you have a white-collar job?

Eye (Noun)

Opening (Present Participle)

Eye-opening

The trek to the Himalayas happened to be an eye-opening experience for many reasons.

Brand (Noun)

New (Adjective)

Brand-new

Joshua came to college today in his brand-new Audi car.

Sun (Noun)

Dried (Past Participle)

Sun-dried

Sun-dried tomatoes seem to add a tangy taste to the dish that makes it even more delicious.

Cruelty (Noun)

Free (Adjective)

Cruelty-free

All these cosmetics are cruelty-free and affordable.

Ten (Number/Adjective)

Page (Noun)

Ten-page

The students of class VI were asked to write a ten-page assignment which would be considered for internal marks.

Cold (Adjective)

Blooded (Past Participle)

Cold-blooded

Everyone would think you are too cold-blooded if you continue to behave so.

Brightly (Adverb)

Lit (Past Participle)

Brightly-lit

The brightly-lit room definitely elevated the mood of the entire gathering.

Man (Noun)

Eater (Noun)

Man-eater

The tiger that was killed was a man-eater.

List of Compound Adjectives Examples

Here is a list of compound adjectives that you can make use to make your writing or speech specific and descriptive.

  • Blue-collar
  • Short-term
  • White-washed
  • Short-handed
  • Ill-minded
  • Ice-cold
  • Grass-fed
  • Home-bred
  • East-facing
  • Mouth-watering
  • Overcooked
  • Undercooked
  • Deep-fried
  • Seasick
  • Well-known
  • Tightly-wound
  • Fifty-storey
  • 100-page
  • Last-minute
  • Full-length
  • Heavy-laden
  • Short-lived
  • Long-distance
  • High-quality
  • Quick-thinking
  • Nail-biting
  • Three-hour
  • Record-breaking
  • Time-saving
  • Ready-made
  • World-famous
  • English-speaking
  • Middle-aged
  • Densely-populated
  • Highly-qualified
  • Long-forgotten
  • Highly-respected
  • Old-fashioned
  • Smoke-free
  • Waterproof
  • Shatterproof
  • Break-free
  • Four-week
  • Good-looking

Difference between Compound Adjectives and Compound Nouns

The main difference between a compound adjective and a compound noun is the kind of role they play when used in a sentence. A compound adjective behaves like an adjective that modifies the noun or pronoun in a sentence whereas, a compound noun behaves like a noun that does or receives the action in a sentence. A bedroom, a water tank, a washing machine, an air conditioner, a bird watcher, a skyscraper, etc. are compound nouns. On the other hand, ill-natured, kind-hearted, Malayalam-speaking, long-lasting, everlasting, densely-populated, old-fashioned, etc., are all examples of compound adjectives.

Test Your Understanding of Compound Adjectives

Identify the compound adjectives in the following sentences and find out the parts of speech which form the compound adjectives.

1. All my students are well-behaved.

2. The villain in that movie seemed to be a cold-blooded man.

3. Gokul works as a part-time trainer.

4. Each one of us were able to make it to the top of the 100-feet high mountain.

5. The three-legged, green-eyed monster in the movie looked really scary.

6. Since you are a diabetes patient, make sure you consume only sugar-free food.

7. Find out if the widely-known singer would be available to be our chief guest for the inter-state musical competition.

8. The marriage and reception were well-planned.

9. The movie about the life of nurses in the Middle East countries had a long-lasting effect on the audience.

10. The ten-hour long journey was worth it.

Let us check if you got your answers right.

1. All my students are well-behaved. (Adverb + Past Participle)

2. The villain in that movie seemed to be a cold-blooded man. (Adjective + Past Participle)

3. Gokul works as a part-time trainer. (Adjective + Noun)

4. Each one of us were able to make it to the top of the 100-feet high mountain. (Adjective + Noun)

5. The three-legged green-eyed monster in the movie looked really scary.Adjective + Past Participle, Adjective + Past Participle)

6. Since you are a diabetes patient, make sure you consume only sugar-free food. (Noun + Adjective)

7. Find out if the widely-known singer would be available to be our chief guest for the inter-state musical competition. (Adverb + Past Participle)

8. The marriage and reception were well-planned. (Adverb + Past Participle)

9. The movie about the life of nurses in the Middle East countries had a long-lasting effect on the audience. (Adjective + Present Participle)

10. The ten-hour long journey was worth it. (Adjective + Noun)

Frequently Asked Questions on Compound Adjectives in English

What is a compound adjective?

A compound adjective is a combination of two or more words which can perform the role of an adjective in a sentence. A compound adjective is formed by adding a noun, a present participle, or a past participle to the adjective. In some cases, the adjective is preceded by either of these and in other cases, the adjective is followed by either of them. Compound adjectives are mostly hyphenated.

What is the definition of a compound adjective?

A compound adjective, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is “formed of two or more parts.” According to the Collins Dictionary, “in grammar, a compound noun, adjective, or verb is one that is made up of two or more words, for example fire engine, bottle-green, and force-feed.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “a compound word is two or more words linked together to produce a word with a new meaning.” So, any other part of speech that is combined with an adjective to mean something else and describe the subject or object in a sentence can be said to be a compound adjective.

What are the types of compound adjectives?

Compound adjectives can be categorized into different types based on their combinations. With respect to this, there are compound adjectives which are formed as a result of combining:

  • A Noun and a Noun
  • A Noun and an Adjective
  • A Noun and a Present Participle
  • A Noun and a Past Participle
  • An Adjective and a Noun
  • An Adjective and a Past Participle
  • An Adverb and a Past Participle
  • A Number and a Noun

Give some examples of compound adjectives.

Ill-natured, kind-hearted, Malayalam-speaking, long-lasting, everlasting, densely-populated, old-fashioned, etc. are some examples of compound adjectives.

Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*