What is Compound Noun?

A noun that is made up of two, three or more parts, is called compound noun.

For example, classroom, washroom, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, drawing room etc.

Single word compound nouns.

Many nouns are made up of two words clearly but they are no longer thought as compound nouns. Such nouns are called single word compound nouns. For example,

Cupboard, raincoat, seaside, typewriter

Nouns formed with Adjective + Noun

Nouns made up of adjective and nouns are called adjective nouns.

For example,

Greenhouse, heavyweight, longhand, redhead

“A heavyweight” means a boxer while “a heavy weight” means a weight that is heavy.

Nouns formed with Gerund + Nouns

For example, drinking water, a frying pan, walking stick etc.

Nouns formed with Noun + Gerund

For example, horse riding, sight seeing, sunbathing.

Nouns form with adverb participle

These compound nouns are the combination of verbs and adverb participles. For example, breakdown, income, makeup.

Compound Noun in place of phrase with “of”

When we want to say that one (non-living) thing is a part of another, we can use “of”, for example, a car key (a key of car), door knob(a knob of door).

Compound noun referring to place

In such type of compound nouns the first word refers to a place and second word to something that is in that place. For example, bank safe, kitchen sink etc.

Compound nouns referring to streets and road.

Compound nouns of streets or roads are not hyphenated. For example, 10 Downing Street, Heathrow Airport, Dubai Stadium.

Compound nouns telling purpose.

Examples are, a can-opener, a meeting point, a sheep-dog.

Compound nouns telling material or substances.

Such as, cotton plug, gold watch and gold ring.

Compound nouns classifying types.

In such kinds of compound nouns the first words answer the question. For example, factory worker, seat belt, taxi driver, bookseller.

Compound nouns referring to containers.

These compound nouns describe that the second item is designed to contain the first one. For example, coffee cup, sugar pot, tea pot etc.

Compound nouns referring to time.

These nouns relate specifically to the time at which an activity takes place or to its duration. For example, Sunday dinner, morning walk, night dress, morning tea etc.

Compound noun formed with “self”, “man”, “woman”, “person”.

Compound nouns with “self” have stress on the second part of the word. For example, “self control”, “self respect”, “self denial”.

Compound nouns with “man” have stress on the first word, for example, airman, cameraman, man eater.

Some people replace man by “person” when the reference is to either sexes. For example, Chairman —> Chairperson, Salesman —> Salesperson.

Sometimes certain nouns can be used in the possessive case without the second noun. For example, a/the baker’s/butcher’s/chemist

of + noun is used for possession.

When the possession nouns is followed by a phrase or clause. For example, the boys ran about, obeying the directions of a man with a whistle.

Further Reading:
Different Types of Nouns
Proper Noun
Common Noun
Uncountable (Mass) Noun
Collective Noun
Abstract Noun