Home / English Vocabulary / Compound Words: 50 + Important Compound Adjectives and Compound Nouns
compound words

Compound Words: 50 + Important Compound Adjectives and Compound Nouns

Compound Words

compound words

First, what is a compound word and what are the 3 types of compound words ?

A compound word is formed from two or more words. Compound words can be closed ( for example, seafood), open for example, water ice) or hyphenated (for example, first-class).

  1. Closed compound words form one single word.
  2. Open compound words are spelled as two separate words.
  3. Hyphenated compound words are joined by a hyphen.

Compound Words examples

  • Seafood, outcome, overcome, worksheet, downpour, seabird, sunflower, skincare, proofread, etc.
  • Water ice, big hair, high school, dining table, dining room, etc.
  • big-hearted, big-headed, self-actualization, well-known, well-cooked, etc.

Compound words : Compound Adjectives

A compound adjective (also called compound modifier) is made up of two or more words that work jointly to modify the same noun. When compound adjectives are used before the noun they modify, they are usually hyphenated (joined together by a hyphen). Compound adjectives whose first part is self are hyphenated as well. The words joined together by a hyphen are also known as hyphenated words .

  • He is a well-off businessman.
  • He belongs to a well-off family.
  • His father is well off.
  • She is a well-known writer.
  • Stephen R. Covey is well known.
  • Self-absorbed
  • Self-aware = self-conscious
  • Self-confident
  • Self-contained
  • Self-critical
  • Self-educated
  • Self-imposed

Compound adjectives can be created by joining multiple words; they can be in different combinations. Compound adjectives can be made up of adjectives, nouns, participles, quantifiers, and adverbs.

Here are some examples of the various combinations that we can make to come up with compound adjectives:

  • Adjective + Adjective: Top-right, top-left, blue-green, etc.
  • Adjective + Noun: Part-time, full-time, good-time, etc.
  • Noun + Adjective: Sugar-free, ice-cold, duty-free, homesick, etc.

Present and past participles can be joined with adjectives, nouns, and adverbs to make compound adjectives:

  • Adjective + participle: Good-looking, hard-working, nice-looking, old-fashioned, open-minded, big-hearted,
  • Noun + participle: record-breaking, mouth-watering, human being, man-sized, home-made,
  • Adverb + participle: Well-known, well-oiled, well rounded, badly-written, well-written, well-paid, dimly-lit, brightly-lit, early-rising, well-running,

Prepositions can also be employed to form compound adjectives:

  • up-to-date laptops.
  • a broken-down car.
  • a beaten-up old truck.
  • built-up areas.
  • a cashed-up businesswoman.
  • a built-in cupboard.
  • a clapped out machine ( old and in bad condition)

Another way to form compound adjectives is to join a quantifier and a noun.

  • A five-star hotel.
  • A three-floor building.
  • A three-storey building.
  •  A fifteen-year-old teenager.

A compound adjective with a number never takes the ‘s’ of the plural.

  • There are 3 five-star hotels in this city.
  • 10 three-floor buildings.

Compound Words :  Character Adjectives

Compound adjectives for character ( Compound words ) are usually used to describe people’s personality or character. The adjectives list below contains a number of compound character adjectives.

  • Hard-working: always doing a lot of work.
  • Good-natured: naturally friendly and does not get angry easily.
  • Over-confident: too sure about yourself and your abilities.
  • Self-assured: you have confidence in your own abilities.
  • Strong-willed: very determined to do what you want to do.
  • Weak-willed: not determined enough to succeed in what you want to do.
  • Strong-minded: somebody who is strong-minded is not willing to change their opinions and beliefs.
  • Broad-minded: happy to accept ideas and ways of life different to your own.
  • Open-minded: willing to accept opinions and ideas which are different from yours.
  • Narrow-minded: not willing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from your own.
  • Well-behaved: behave in a quiet and polite way.
  • Self-centered: interested only in yourself.
  • Bad-tempered: often annoyed, angry, or impatient.
  • Short-tempered: if someone is short-tempered, he or she gets angry easily for no good reason.
  • Easy-going: calm and relaxed; not easily worried or upset.
  • Big-headed: you think you are more intelligent or more important than you really are.
  • Laid-back: you are not usually worried about other people’s behavior or things that need to be done.
  • Thick-skinned: if you are thick-skinned, you are not easily hurt by criticism.
  • Cold-hearted: if you are cold-hearted, you don’t feel sorry about other people’s suffering.
  • Self-conscious: uncomfortable or nervous because you are worried about what other people think about you or your behavior.

These compound adjectives describing character traits are really interesting. So, which compound adjectives describe your personality?

Do these character adjectives quiz here to test your knowledge of compound adjectives.

Compound Nouns

What is a compound noun ? How do you make a compound noun ?

A compound noun refers to a noun that is composed of two or more words. These compound words work together as a single unit to name a place, a person, or a thing. Compound nouns are usually created by joining two nouns or an adjective and a noun together.

Compound nouns types

There are 3 types of compound nouns, namely open compound nouns. They are written as separate words ( living room, swimming pool, secretary general, etc.), closed compound nouns. They are written as one single word (blackbird, policeman, makeup, etc.), and hyphenated compound words (mother-in-law, father-in-law, check-in, etc.)

Compound Noun Examples

Here is a compound nouns list

  • Football (noun + noun)
  • Bookcase
  • Toothpaste
  • Backpack
  • Living room
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Dining room
  • Bathtub
  • Website
  • Policeman
  • Policewoman
  • Watercolor
  • Bus stop
  • Handbag
  • Whiteboard ( adjective + noun)
  • Blackboard
  • Blackbird
  • Greenhouse
  • Greenpeace
  • Software
  • Mobile phone
  • Full moon
  • Full board
  • Blackberry
  • Check-in ( verb + preposition)
  • Checkout
  • Makeup
  • lookout
  • Drawback
  • Fall-off
  • Falling-out
  • Fill-up
  • Sunrise (noun + verb)
  • Sunset
  • Haircut
  • Rainfall

To turn compound nouns into the plural, we usually add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the main word of the compound noun. The main word is usually the second word, but there are exceptions.

A bookcase          bookcases

A bedroom          bedrooms

A handbag          handbags

A website          websites


A father-in-law          fathers-in-law

A secretary general           secretaries general

A passerby           passers-by

Here, you’ll find very important words that describe appearance.

For more English vocabulary check this link.

Check Also

Expressing lack of understanding

Expressing lack of understanding and asking for clarification Expressing lack of understanding When you do …

Agreeing and disagreeing

Agreeing and disagreeing / Expressing agreement and disagreement Here are various expressions of agreement and …