Compound Words - Learn What They Are and How to Use Them with Examples

Have you ever wondered how you would construct a sentence if there were no words? Luckily, for us, we have languages that have a wide range of vocabulary. Among the languages of the world, the English language is one that has a good vocabulary range. In addition to the words in English, there are also words borrowed from other languages called loan words, and words that are formed by combining two different words to form compound words. In this article, you will be introduced to compound words, what they are, their meaning, definition, how to form compound words and how they can be used. Also, take a look at the examples given and the list of compound words to understand how they can be formed.

Table of Contents

What is a Compound Word? – Meaning and Definition

A compound word, as the name suggests, is a combination of two or more root words. They are combined to form words which mean something different from what the individual words mean.

A compound word, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a noun, an adjective or a verb made of two or more words or parts of words, written as one or more words, or joined by a hyphen.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines a compound word as “two or more words linked together to produce a word with a new meaning.” A compound word is defined as “is one that is made up of two or more words”, according to the Collins Dictionary.

Types of Compound Words

Compound words can be formed in three different ways. They are:

  • Open compound words
  • Closed compound words
  • Hyphenated compound words

Let us look at how each of these types of compound words are formed.

Open Compound Words

Open compound words are those that are formed by combining two or more words which can be written as separate words and still be used together as a compound word. Open compound words are mostly formed by combining an adjective and a noun to form a compound noun.

For example:

  • First aid
  • Post office
  • Living room
  • High school
  • Ice cream

Closed Compound Words

Closed compound words are those that are formed by combining two words but do not contain any space between them, unlike open compound words.

For example:

  • Bedroom
  • Keyhole
  • Football
  • Backspace
  • Armchair

Hyphenated Compound Words

Hyphenated compound words, as the name suggests are words formed by combining two or more words with a hyphen placed between them. Hyphenated compound words mostly function as compound adjectives.

For example:

  • In-depth
  • Snow-clad
  • One-footed
  • Sun-dried
  • Day-to-day

Points to Remember When Forming Compound Words

Have you tried merging two or more words that mean completely different things? If you do, you will find out that some interesting combinations work, mean something different from what their individual meanings are and make your language a lot more interesting and colourful. Now, there is something you should know. You cannot just combine any two words together to form a word. Make sure you make proper compound words and use them appropriately. Here are a few points you will have to bear in mind when forming and using compound words.

  • Compound words can be said to be permanent compounds or temporary compounds. Permanent compound words are those that are already a part of the language; whereas, a temporary compound word is one that is formed to suit the writer’s or speaker’s requirement. For example, words like first aid, grandmother, lawsuit, blackboard, etc. are permanent compound words which already exist in the English language and words like red-headed, left-handed, bright-eyed, etc. are the kind of words that can be created to suit the requirement of the language user.
  • To help you a little, here is something you can remember. In most cases, compound nouns are written as a closed compound word, a compound verb is written as an open compound word and a compound adjective is written as a hyphenated compound word. However, this is not a rule and is not always the case.
  • As far as hyphenated compound words are concerned, they are hyphenated only if they are placed before the noun it modifies.

Formation of Compound Words

Compound words, as discussed earlier, are formed by combining two words, especially two parts of speech. Let us look at some combinations of parts of speech that form compound words.

Noun + Noun

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining two nouns.

  • Bedroom
  • Music band
  • Water tank
  • Starfish
  • Sunflower
  • Girlfriend
  • Police woman
  • Football

Noun + Verb

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a noun and a verb.

  • Firefly
  • Rainfall
  • Sunset
  • Photoshoot
  • Sunrise
  • Raindrop
  • Haircut
  • Snowfall

Verb + Noun

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a verb and a noun.

  • Swim suit
  • Typewriter
  • Postman
  • Post office
  • Notebook
  • Breakfast
  • Proofread
  • Babysit

Verb + Preposition

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a verb and a preposition.

  • Takeaway
  • Shutdown
  • Drawback
  • Checkin
  • Checkout
  • Lookout
  • Takedown
  • Breakup

Preposition + Verb

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a preposition and a verb.

  • Intake
  • Outdo
  • Input
  • Output
  • Overthrow
  • Understand
  • Underestimate
  • Overlay

Noun + Adjective

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a noun and an adjective.

  • Housefull
  • Heartbroken
  • Spoonful
  • Wireless
  • Lifelong
  • Snow white
  • Sky blue
  • Worldwide

Adjective + Noun

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining an adjective and a noun.

  • Greenhouse
  • Blackboard
  • Full-time
  • Superhero
  • Hot dog
  • Blacksmith
  • Long-term
  • Last minute

Gerund + Noun

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a gerund and a noun.

  • Washing machine
  • Dining room
  • Swimming pool
  • Driving licence
  • Breaking point
  • Melting point
  • Living room
  • Working day

Noun + Gerund

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a noun and a gerund.

  • Sightseeing
  • Mind-blowing
  • Nerve-wrecking
  • Nail-biting
  • Brainstorming
  • Mindmapping
  • Air conditioning
  • Time-consuming
  • Bird watching

Preposition + Noun

Here is a list of compound words formed by combining a preposition and a noun.

  • Underworld
  • Overview
  • Undergraduate
  • Oversight
  • Bystander
  • Afterlife
  • Background
  • Forehead
  • Upstairs

Examples of Compound Words

Taking a look at a number of examples will definitely help you out. So here is a list of some of the most common compound words used in English.

List of Commonly-Used Compound Words in English

Compound Words

Blackboard

South-west

North-east

Indo-European

Afro-American

First aid

Bedroom

Bathroom

Washing machine

Vending machine

Living room

Swimming pool

Drawing room

Copyright

Typewriter

Managing director

Day-to-day

Blood pressure

Cold blooded

Eye opener

Microorganism

Cupboard

Footnote

Locksmith

Blacksmith

Goldsmith

Giveaway

In-depth

Breakup

Breakdown

Blowout

Housefull

Showdown

Long term

Sunflower

Dilly dally

Postman

Post office

Breakfast

Notebook

Superhero

Hot dog

Full moon

Merry-go-round

Grandfather

Mother-in-law

Father-in-law

Sister-in-law

Brother-in-law

Granddaughter

Grandson

Grandchild

Good-hearted

Last minute

Real estate

Mind-blowing

Far-fetched

Warmup

Firefly

Butterfly

Grasshopper

Blueberry

Strawberry

Half-baked

Raincoat

All nighter

Know-it-all

Smartphone

Starfish

Runway

toothbrush

Time table

Hopscotch

Uptown

Eyeball

Keyboard

Cupcake

Homework

Underground

Popcorn

Daydream

Nightmare

Midnight

Downstairs

Upstairs

Parking lot

Worksheet

Snow white

Keypoint

Handout

Raindrop

Hometown

Extracurricular

Network

French fries

Brainstorm

Teaspoon

Table spoon

Handbag

Earthworm

Greenhouse

Milkshake

Farewell

Showoff

Newsletter

Subway

Pathway

Deadend

Homemade

Handmade

Peanut

Jellybean

Afternoon

Namesake

Foolproof

Waterproof

Soundproof

Policeman

Scarecrow

Passport

Forearm

Eyebrow

Nose ring

Earring

Staircase

Test Your Understanding of Compound Words

Use the following words to form open, closed or hyphenated compound words.

  • Sick
  • White
  • Written
  • Minded
  • Washed
  • Home
  • Hand
  • Well
  • Known
  • Broad
  • Hair
  • Lap
  • Half
  • Right
  • Card
  • Top
  • Handed
  • Cut
  • Flash
  • Sister

Given below are the list of compound words formed by combining the given list of words.

1. Homesick

2.Hand-written

3. White-washed

4. Well-known

5. Haircut

6. Half-sister

7. Flashcard

8. Right-handed

9. Laptop

10. Broad-minded

Frequently Asked Questions on Compound Words in English

What is a clause?

A compound word, as the name suggests, is a combination of two or more root words. They are combined to form words which mean something different from what the individual words mean.

What is the definition of a compound word?

A compound word, according to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, is defined as “a noun, an adjective or a verb made of two or more words or parts of words, written as one or more words, or joined by a hyphen.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines a compound word as “two or more words linked together to produce a word with a new meaning.” A compound word is defined as “is one that is made up of two or more words”, according to the Collins Dictionary.

What are the types of compound words?

Compound words can be formed in three different ways. They are:

  • Open compound words
  • Closed compound words
  • Hyphenated compound words

What is an open compound word?

Open compound words are those that are formed by combining two or more words which can be written as separate words and still be used together as a compound word. Open compound words are mostly formed by combining an adjective and a noun to form a compound noun.
For example: First aid and post office

What is a closed compound word?

Closed compound words are those that are formed by combining two words but do not contain any space between them, unlike open compound words.
For example: Bedroom and keyhole

What is a hyphenated compound word?

Hyphenated compound words, as the name suggests are words formed by combining two or more words with a hyphen placed between them. Hyphenated compound words mostly function as compound adjectives.
For example: In-depth and snow-clad

Give some examples of compound words.

Here are a few examples of compound words for your reference.

  • Living room
  • High school
  • Ice cream
  • Football
  • Backspace
  • Armchair
  • One-footed
  • Sun-dried
  • Day-to-day

Leave a Comment

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

*

*