Compound words are, for the most part, Nouns, Adjectives and Verbs.
Compound Nouns may be formed from:
- Noun + Noun; as,
Moonlight, oil-lamp, ear-ring, armchair, postman, railway, air hostess, door-step, sign-post, trap-door, lion-tamer, ring-leader, moneylender, man-servant, fire-escape, tax-payer, shoemaker, haystack, windmill, teaspoon, newspaper.
- Adjective + Noun; as,
Madman, stronghold, nobleman, sweetheart, shorthand, blackbird, quicksilver.
- Verb + Noun; as,
Tell-tale, pick-pocket, cut-throat, stop-gap, make-shift, spendthrift, breakfast, daredevil, passport.
- Gerund + Noun; as,
Drawing-room, looking-glass, walking-stick, a laughing-stock, skipping- rope, stepping-stone, blotting-paper.
- Adverb + Noun; as,
Overcoat, an afterthought, postscript, undertone, foresight, downfall, overload, out-patient, overdose, upland, offshoot.
- Adverb + Verb; as,
Income, output, intake, offspring, outbreak, outlook, outfit, upstart, outburst, outlet, out-cast, outcome, upkeep, outset, outcry.
- Verb + Adverb; as,
The drawback, send-off, go-between, look-up, die-hard, breakdown, runaway, farewell, standstill, walk-over.
Compound Adjective may be formed from:
- Noun + Adjective (or Participle); as,
Home-sick, weather-beaten, hen-pecked, moth-eaten, head-strong, world-wide, life-long, high-brow, knee-deep, purse-proud, snow-white, blood-red, pitch-dark, skin-deep, stone-blind, noteworthy, heart-rending, ear piercing, time-serving, heart-broken, bed-ridden, hand-made, love-lorn, water-proof, self-sacrificing, money-making.
- Adjective + Adjective; as,
Red-hot, white-hot, dark-brown, dull-grey, lukewarm, worldly-wise, ready-made, widespread, high-born, full-grown, foolhardy, thick-set, new-laid.
- Adverb + participle; as,
Outspoken, down-hearted, well-deserved, downtrodden, long-suffering, everlasting, never-ending, thorough-bred.
Compound Verbs may be formed from:
- Noun + Verb; as, Earmark, waylay, typewrite, backbite, browbeat.
- Adjective + Verb; as, Whitewash, dry-clean, safeguard.
- Adverb + Verb; as,
Overtake, overdo, overhear, overthrow, foresee, foretell, undertake, undergo, outbid, outdo, upset, undersell.
Exercise 1: Explain the formation of the following compound words.
Outlet, overdose, hard-hearted, outspoken, sunstroke, shoe-maker, pastime, household, bloodshed, backbite, underground, gainsay, overcharge, fire-proof, top-heavy, heaven-born, widespread, onlooker, turncoat, cupboard, backslider, passport, fly-wheel, windscreen, earmark, counteract, an afterthought, chicken, hearted, hen-pecked, double-faced, wholehearted, care-worn, underbid, send-off, skin-deep, stronghold, brand-new, jet-black, lifelong, worldly-wise, single-handed, pickpocket, penny-wise, pound-foolish, undergrowth.
Exercise 2: Choose one word from List A and one word from List B to form a compound word
Cross, cut, dead, law, cup, cow, court, broad, trust, spend, nut, post, step, type, vice, ward, under, grave, counter, with, news, pass, credit, break, ring, hand, straight, down, high, torch.
mine, light, yard, draw, robe, president, word, throat, breaker, lock, board, herd, way, martial, shell, worthy, thrift, writer, print, port, script, mother, cast, able, leader, loom, down, bearer, fall, forward.