Compound words are those formed by combining two or more simple words, lexemes, or roots. For example, "sunflower" and "dreamcatcher" are compound words.

A compound word is considered a single unit and is independent of the words that make it up. As a result, it must adhere to the general rules of accentuation and spelling in the language. Examples include "centipede," "scarecrow," and "highway."

Composition is a common process and is often employed to create new words or neologisms. These terms emerge as a means of naming new concepts or realities. For instance, "casaquinta" (country house), "easy opener," and "free thinker" are all examples of compound words used in English.

Examples of compound words

bottle opener twelfthbriefcase 
letter openerelectromagnetism lamp holder
airport Congratulationsluggage rack
KilljoyPhotography purse
aquamarine photomontageclipboard
schnappsmudguard photo frame
up and down rangerkick
clerical collarparking attendant pointed
valet parking coastguardnail polish remover
astronautbodyguard stain remover
mobile home goalkeepersnowplow
self-governmentwardrobe sunshade
carwash Civil Guardbobtail
carlaughing stock boom box
Ave Maria heliportskyscraper
low tideseaplane rectilinear
football peppermintriver plate
basketballSpanish American rojiblanco
beardless tinpuzzle
benefactorflamethrower icebreaker
approval car washbreakwater
bike pathdishwasher corkscrew
blessed dishwashertooth puller
welcomeshiner pencil sharpener
mouth of the sleeve wiper washerseason
bowled overhoneysuckle grasshopper
good fortune I thought wrongmat
hustlerextravagant screensaver
crestfallen world maplife jacket
cemeterypacemaker safe passage
sing-morning fire extinguishertrice
singer-songwriterfly swatter premature
nerve rat poisonendless
sneeringquack without flavor
nutcracker blowoutdesktop
curmudgeonmidnight gossip
spyglass disparagesnack
eyebrowmicrophone groping
bootlicker strudelfigurehead
cauliflowertoothpick carousel
buy and sell monorailslingshot
correturnoslift truck tracer
firewall motorcycleturntable
penknifemotocross tongue twister
cigar cutter chainsawswallowed
quadrilateralChristmas Eve slots
quadricycle windshieldtrolley car
bedspreadparachute stumble
dropper bumperglobetrotter
odometerumbrella eleventh
birthday lightning rodsway
fourteenthrailing twenty-five
fifteenth mash milltwenty four
seventeenthhobby twenty two
sixteenth two-steptwenty eight
thirteenthrascals twenty six
democracy stonecuttertwenty seven
nineteenlipstick twenty three
eighteen paperweighttwenty-one
sixteenaircraft carrier video game
seventeen luggage rackvinegar

How are compound words formed?

NOUN + NOUN turning (mouth + street),spiderweb (web + spider)
VERB + VERB sleep it(sleep + watch),seesaw(up + down)
ADJECTIVE + ADJECTIVE deaf (deaf + dumb),bittersweet (sour + sweet)
NOUN + ADJECTIVE (or vice versa) redhead (hair + red),noon(half + day)
VERB + NOUN (or vice versa) can opener(open + can),handcuff(hand + tie)
PRONOUN + VERB to do(what + to do),whoever (who + want)
ADVERB + ADVERB the day before yesterday (before + yesterday)
ADVERB + ADJECTIVE in addition (so + same),well-thinking (good + thinking)
ADVERB + NOUN Bad mood (bad + humor),malnutrition (bad + nutrition)
VERB + ADVERB (or vice versa) welfare (well + be),big shot (send + more)

To keep in mind: Some compound words are formed from complete sentences. For example:Correct him, know-it-all, forget-me-not.

Compound words can be written in different ways:

  • In a single word, without spaces or hyphens: These compound words are written as a single unit, without any spaces or hyphens. In some cases, the first term may undergo changes, such as shortening or the addition of a connecting letter. These words follow the same rules of stress and morphology as simple words. Examples include "sunshade" and "washing machine."
  • In two separate words with a space: These compound words are written as two independent words with a space between them. However, when used together, they have a fixed form and a specific meaning. Over time, some compound words may evolve from being spelled separately to being written as a single word. For instance, "environment" and "bas relief" are examples of compound words written with a space.
  • In two words joined with a hyphen: This form of compound words typically indicates some kind of opposition or contrast between the terms. The words are joined with a hyphen. Examples include "Arab-Israeli" and "theoretical-practical."

Note: When a compound word is written with an en dash (–), each term retains its spelling and accent. For example, "artistic-literary" and "epic-lyrical" are compound words written with an en dash.

Here are the sentences with compound words:

  1. My cousin couldn't come to the party because tomorrow he has the final of the basketball tournament.
  2. I rummaged through my grandmother's garage and found this old record player.
  3. We forgot the can opener, so we had to use a knife to eat what we had brought.
  4. I love New York, it's full of skyscrapers.
  5. My mom is making a cauliflower dish.
  6. On the radio, they said it was going to rain, so take your umbrella with you.
  7. The car is in the shop because the windshield broke.
  8. Will you have a stain remover? I spilled coffee on my shirt.
  9. You have to be very patient to do that puzzle.
  10. It is convenient to go to the bank at noon; it is always empty.
  11. We welcomed my brother back after a year out of the country.
  12. I hate doing my housework on Saturday mornings.
  13. If the building had not had a lightning rod, a tragedy could have occurred.
  14. You will need to take a taxi when you arrive; the airport is on the outskirts of the city.
  15. In that cartoon, the protagonist is a centipede.
  16. We will have to call the technician because the washing machine broke down.
  17. My uncle has a red motorcycle.
  18. Sleet is falling; let's not go out on the road until the weather improves.
  19. I would love it if they let me play video games at work when I have nothing to do.
  20. The family bought a new dishwasher because the old one was out of order.

Simple and derived words

Compound words, simple words, and derived words can be distinguished as follows:

  • Simple words: Also known as primitives, simple words consist of a single root, with or without inflectional morphemes. They do not derive from any other word in the language. Examples include "sun," "table," "cute," and "go out."
  • Derived words: Derived words are formed by adding prefixes and/or derivative suffixes to a simple word. These affixes modify the meaning or function of the base word. Examples include "grove," "sunny," "prejudice," and "underwater."
  • Compound words: Compound words are formed by combining two or more simple words, lexemes, or roots. They can be written as a single word, with a space between the words, or joined by a hyphen. Examples of compound words include "sunflower," "dreamcatcher," "can opener," and "skyscrapers."

Understanding the distinctions between compound words, simple words, and derived words allows us to recognize the various ways words are formed and the different linguistic processes involved.


Clinton Quintero is a Certified Dream Analyst, Psychic Advisor, Journalist, Syndicated Columnist, Author, Dream Therapist, Mentor and Spiritual Entrepreneur. Uncover the hidden meaning of your dreams with him. .

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