Compound Noun


Compound noun can be defined as “Compound nouns can be words written together, words that are hyphenated, or separate words that go together by meaning.”


Two or more nouns combined together to form a single word which is called as compound noun. Some of the compound nouns are written with space between two words (such as grapefruit juice), words separated by the hyphen (such as sister-in-law, brother-in-law), or as single word (such as schoolteacher).

There are some compounded nouns whose origins are unclear (such as bonfire, marshall, etc) so they called as amalgamated compound. Generally, one word of the compound nouns contain noun whereas other word may be an adverb, verb, adjective, preposition, or gerund. First word becomes modifying word or add meaning to second one (main word).

Examples of compound nouns are like washing machine, boyfriend, dining-table, public speaking, greenhouse, bus stop, fire-fly, football, full moon, bystander, blackboard, software, breakfast, lookout, swimming pool, sunrise, upturn, haircut, train-spotting, check-out, mother-in-law, underworld, truckful, bedroom, motorcycle, printer cartridge, water tank, rainfall, train-spotting, hanger-on, passer-by, driving license, take-off, drawback, onlooker, dry-cleaning, redhead, output, overthrow, input, policeman, etc.

How to Use in the Sentence

Compound nouns are written in the capital letter when they start the sentence otherwise written in small letter when occur anywhere in the sentence. Following are the examples of compound noun:

For Example:

  • Bluebird is a type of bird.
  • Greenhouse is a place where we grow plants.
  • I have to wait for bus number 12 at the bus stop.
  • Lots of fire-flies come at night in the summer season.
  • We played football today for two hours.
  • Full moon has its own importance.
  • Teachers make us understand by writing properly on blackboard.
  • Windows is an operating system software on everyone PC.
  • My mom gives us breakfast daily at 8am.
  • I know how to wash clothes in washing machine.
  • We join swimming pool in every summer vacation.
  • I wake up daily before the sunrise.
  • I need a haircut at every 2 week.
  • Train-spotting is my hobby.
  • My mother-in-law is very kind person.
  • Good policemen never accept money from underworld.

Forms of Compound Noun

There are three forms of compound noun based on the arrangements of the two or three words into one word. All three forms are described below with proper example:

  • Solid or Closed Compound Noun

Solid or closed compound nouns are those words that have no space in between and used as a single word with proper meaning such as rollback, restroom, classroom, whatever, whoever, breakfast, needlepoint, slingshot, etc.

  • Open or Spaced Compound Noun

Open or spaced compound nouns are those words that have space in between and separated by the space. They are used as a single unit of meaning in-spite of written separately as two words such as wet nurse, full moon, roller coaster, bus stop, sleeping bag, swimming pool, first aid, mug shot, christmas, tree, christmas father, christmas card,

  • Hyphenated Compound Noun

Hyphenated compound nouns are those words that are connected by one or more hyphens such as sister-in-law, mother-in-law, jack-in-the-box, state-of-the-art, brother-in-law, shout-out, mind-set, five-year-old, etc.

Categorized Examples

Compound nouns are formed by the combination of two words. Two words unite to form new combinations which we use in various ways daily. Compound nouns have two parts in which first part indicate the type of object or person or purpose whereas second part indicates an object or person in question.

Compound nouns have a different and more specific meaning than its two combining words separately means. Compound nouns are written as single words, as a word separated with hyphen, or its two words having space in between. Various parts of speech are used to make compound nouns. Following are the category wise examples of compound nouns:

Compound Nouns using Noun+Verb: snow drop, air dash, tongue slip, book mark, headline, bus stop, time line, earmark, monthly pay, typewriter, telephone call, headache, moonlight, sunset, waylay, tieknot, browbeat, laybreak, toothache, blood shed, earth quake, rootcause, backbite, cloud burst, bee sting, hand shake, house arrest, etc.

Compound Nouns using Noun+Noun: taxpayer, cellphone, headteacher, railroad, money market, bluewhale, timetable, postcard, picture book, field glasses, engine driver, air ticket, crime novel, garden flowers, blackboard, servant maid, police officer, ice-cream, firefighter, cricket ball, family business, handbag, sunlight, toothpaste, football, fish tank, etc.

Compound Nouns using Noun+Gerund: cat walking, slow cycling, air blowing, cross heading, ear piercing, white washing, time consuming, account checking, time serving, heart rending, English training, day dreaming, bread baking, heart bleeding, test driving, mind reading, snow skidding, book-binding, account checking, mountain trekking, bird watching, eve teasing, freedom loving, house cleaning, thought provoking, etc.

Compound Nouns using Gerund+Noun: sleeping room, working day, resting room, waiting hall, learning material, driving school, fishingnet, starring hero, sitting bench, glittering jewels, visiting card, cooking gas, waiting list, helping hand, blotting paper, drawing room, living room, cleaning lady, spinning wheel, steering wheel, swimming pool, washing machine, drinking water, peeping Tom, sleeping pill, writing desk, looking glass, steppingstone, passing cloud, spelling book, blotting paper, etc.

Compound Nouns using Preposition+Noun: over-bridge, inbox, off-day, by line, underclass, bypath, outlaw, forethought, offspring, overcoat, afternoon, inside, middleman, downfall, downhill, upland, top-hat, inmate, foresight, underground, underworld, bystander, onlooker, etc.

Compound Nouns using Noun and Adjective: forceful, ageless, homesick, bad tempered, snow white, beauty full, downward, grateful, harmless, accident prone, black gold, silk soft, deadslow, careful, mercy less, picture perfect, honey sweet, roundabout, milk white, red-hot, etc.

Compound Nouns using adverb+noun: downtime, overtime, etc.

Compound Nouns using adverb+verb: input, output, upswing, etc.

Compound Nouns using verb+adjective: tumbledown

Compound Nouns using preposition+adjective: over-ripe

Compound Nouns using preposition+preposition: without

Compound Nouns using preposition+verb: output, undercut, outlook, overthrow, etc.

Compound Nouns using verb+noun: swimming pool, cross-road, breakwater, cookbook, washing machine, jump rope, etc.

Compound Nouns using adjective+adjective: blue-green

Compound Nouns using adjective+noun: blackboard, full moon, black eye, blue jeans, hot-dog, etc.

Compound Nouns using adjective+preposition: forthwith

Compound Nouns using adjective+verb: dry-cleaning, highlight, etc.

Compound Nouns using noun+preposition: love-in, hanger on, passer-by, etc.

Compound Nouns using noun+verb: haircut, browbeat, milkshake, rainfall, car-wash, etc.

Compound Nouns using verb+preposition: takeout, check-in, drawback, lookout, etc.

Compound Nouns using verb+verb: freeze-dry

Rules to be Followed

Some of the rules concerning compound noun are mentioned below:

  • Compound nouns can be converted to their plural forms by adding ‘s’ in the last of main word or at the very end word.
  • ‘s’ is added at the end of main word in hyphenated words (such as daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law, etc) however in some compound words like go-betweens, higher-ups, etc ‘s’ is added at the end of last word.
  • In the open form compound words ‘s’ is added to the main word (whether comes at the start, middle or end) such as notaries public, bills of fare, assistant secretaries of state, etc.
  • Compound words can be made possessive by adding an apostrophe ‘s’ at the end of word such as mother-in-law’s house, daughter-in-law’s birthday, etc.
  • Plural compound words can also be made possessive with two ‘s’ sounds close together such as mothers-in-law’s attire, brothers-in-law’s books, etc. In order to avoid the use of two ‘s’ together, we can reword them as attire of the mothers-in-law and book of the brothers-in-law.

Exercises for You

We have provided below some compound noun exercises in order to help you to improve your knowledge about compound noun. You need to get detail information about compound noun provided above and check your skill by doing following exercises.

  1. Next bus stop is 5 mins away from this one.
  2. I hate fire flies in the hot summer nights.
  3. I do tooth brush daily using a nice toothpaste.
  4. My elder brother has six-pack abs.
  5. Watching full moon is a traditional ritual in many religions.
  6. My father bought a blackboard for me to practice maths.
  7. I wash my clothes every Sunday using washing machine.
  8. I enjoy a lot while swimming in the swimming pool.
  9. I and my sister always gets up before sunrise.
  10. I like to make my hairstyle according to the Bollywood trends.
  11. I always remember the general half annual check-up of my grandparents.
  12. My mother-in-law is very honest and kind person.
  13. This city has been the kingdom of criminal underworld.
  14. Final examination time table has been announced in the last week
  15. We should overcome all the challenges in life to get huge success.
  16. I always fears of earth quake as it is dangerous.
  17. There are many classrooms in my school.
  18. Playing foot ball daily keeps us healthy and active.
  19. I bought the car yet I have no driving license.
  20. Frogs get underground in the winter season.
  21. I cannot live without my parents.
  22. I am doing MBA through distance learning.
  23. Red traffic light indicates to stop.
  24. I have to reach at airport at 9 am.
  25. Keyboard is an input device.
  26. Printer is an output device.
  27. I have receive my parents from railway station.
  28. Travel India provides best travel agents in the city.
  29. I can drive very easily on the freeway as there is less traffic.
  30. I bought a platform ticket at the ticket office as I was there to see off my relatives.
  31. My school library is a good bookstore.

Answers: 1 – bus stop, 2 – fire flies, 3 – toothpaste, 4 – six-pack, 5 – full moon, 6 – blackboard, 7 – washing machine, 8 – swimming pool, 9 – sunrise, 10 – hairstyle, 11 – check-up, 12 – mother-in-law, 13 – underworld, 14 – time table, 15 – overcome, 16 – earth quake, 17 – classrooms, 18 – foot ball, 19 – driving license, 20 – underground, 21 – without, 22 – distance learning, 23 – traffic light, 24 – airport, 25 – keyboard, input, 26 – output, 27 – railway station, 28 – travel agents, 29 – freeway, 30 – ticket office, 31 – bookstore.

Related Topics:

Proper Noun
Common Noun
Countable Noun
Uncountable Noun
Collective Noun
Possessive Noun
Concrete Noun
Abstract Noun
Singular Noun
Plural Noun

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