Compound Noun: What Is It formation & Examples

We sometimes place one noun in front of another noun or adjective in front of a noun and several other types of combinations that will give more precise information about that person or thing. For example, we can combine the noun car with another noun park that works as a single unit, i.e., car park; this means a car park is a place where we park cars. This combination of car and park made a new noun, car park, called a compound noun. 

Must Read: 1000+ Examples of Compound Nouns

Definition of Compound Noun with Examples

The combination of two or more words to make a noun that works as a single unit is called a compound noun. Compound nouns tell us from what something is made, where something is when something happens, or what someone does. 

Compound nouns may consist of a single word; some can be written as separate words, and others have a hyphen.

Compound Noun Formation Examples

Examples of Compound Nouns (List)

  • Arm + chair= armchair
  • Blackboard
  • Fountain pen 
  • Forget-me-not
  • Merry-go-round
  • Penknife
  • Railway
  • Rainbow 
  • Schoolgirl
  • Snowball
  • Snowman 
  • Touch-me-not
  • Air-traffic controller
  • Coffee-house
  • Eye-glass
  • Flower-garden
  • Lamp-oil
  • Race-horse
  • Moonlight
  • Timetable
  • Ice-cream
  • Gunpowder
  • Schoolmaster
  • Shopkeeper
  • Housemaid
  • Seashore
  • Postcard
  • Newspaper
  • Steam-engine
  • Night train
  • Apple-tree
  • Sand-storm
  • Postman
  • Postmark
  • Postmaster
  • Gentleman
  • Forehead
  • Dining room
  • Breakfast
  • Housewife
  • Schoolroom
  • Toothbrush
  • Office-worker 
  • fish-farm
  • Oil-rig 

Compound nouns consist of a single word (Closed Compound Nouns) are a bathroom, tablecloth, toothbrush, bedroom, etc.
Compound nouns consist of two separate words are (Open Compound Nouns) waste paper, water bottle, dining room, etc.
Compound nouns separated by a hyphen are (Hyphenated Compound Nouns) father-in-law, check-in, window-cleaner, etc.

How to Form a Compound Noun with Examples

Compound nouns are formed with different types of combinations. Some of these combinations are noun + nounadjective + nounnoun + verbnoun + prepositionnoun + prepositional phrase, noun + adverb, verb + noun. From the above combinations, noun + noun and adjective + noun is the most commonly used combining strategy of forming a compound noun.

There are some ways in which these combinations can be used.

When the second noun is part of the first noun. For example

  • Shop window 
  • Picture frame 
  • College library 
  • School bell 
  • Garden gate 

When the first noun in a compound can indicate the place of the second noun. For example

  • City street 
  • Comer shop 
  • Country lane

The first noun can indicate the time of the second. For example

  • Sunday magazine 
  • Winter holiday

The second noun is made of the material express by the first noun.

  • Gold medal
  • Bricks wall

The first word can indicate the purpose of the second.

  • Tin opener
  • Notice board
  • Coffee cup

Noun + Noun Compound Noun Examples

A significant number of compound nouns are formed with this combination.

  • Bathroom
  • Fireman 
  • Football 
  • Hall door
  • Petrol pump
  • Traffic warden
  • Kitchen table
  • Hitch-hiker
  • Winter clothes
  • Toothpaste 
  • Table cloth 
  • Table tennis 
  • Handbag 
  • Headlight  
  • Coal mine 
  • Shopkeeper
  • Bedroom
  • Wallpaper
  • Picture book
  • Website 
  • Ticket inspector
  • Bookshelf

Sometimes the possessive form of the first noun is used in a compound noun when the first noun is the user of the thing expressed in the second noun or when the first noun is the producer of the item described in the second noun. 

a baby’s bedroom (baby is the user of the second noun bedroom)
a women’s clinic
lamb’s wool
goat’s milk (goat is the producer of the milk)
hen’s eggs

Ing- form + Noun or Adjective + Noun and Gerund + Noun (Compound Nouns)

The -ing form is sometimes called a gerundverbal noun, or -ing noun. The -ing form usually tells the function of a noun that follows it. 

  • Whiteboard
  • Drinking Water
  • Redhead 
  • Working Party
  • Blackberry
  • Quicksilver 
  • Living Room
  • Swimming Pool
  • Greenhouse
  • Turning point
  • Risk-taking
  • Fly-fishing
  • Film-making
  • Coal-mining
  • Life-saving
  • Surf-riding
  • Weight-lifting
  • Fruit picking
  • Printing Machine
  • Advertising Campaign
  • Mailing List
  • Drilling Machine
  • Selling Cost
  • Waiting List
  • Six-pack
  • Blackboard
  • Blackbird
  • Mobile Phone
  • Small Talk

Besides these two most common combination methods, there are several other combinations through which compound nouns are formed below.

Noun + Verb Compound Nouns

  • Rainfall
  • Sunset 
  • Haircut

Noun + Preposition Compound Nouns

  • Hanger-on
  • Passerby 

Noun + Prepositional Phrase Compound Nouns

  • Father-in-law 
  • Mother-in-law  
  • Sister-in-law

Noun + Adverb  Compound Nouns

  • Hanger on
  • Passerby 
  • Runner-up 

Verb + Noun Compound Nouns

  • Washing Machine
  • Driving License

Rules of Making Plural of Compound Nouns

Compound nouns that constitute one or more words can be made plural by adding “s” or “-es” to the principle word. 

Compound Nouns Plural Form Examples

Singular Compound NounsPlural Compound Nouns
Bus StopBus Stops
Bus DriverBus Drivers 
Summer PartySummer Parties

But if the first part is the main word followed by a modifier to make them plural add “s” to the chief word.


The plural of a compound noun formed from the combination -ing form/adjective + noun is made by adding “s” or “-es” to the singular noun.

Dining RoomDining Rooms

Others make their plural by making the principal word plural without adding “s” or “es.”


The following compound nouns cannot be used in plural form.

  • Software
  • Dry-cleaning
  • Rainfall
  • Train-spotting

Compound Nouns Examples in Sentences

  • Do you need a water bottle?
  • Their home has four bedrooms
  • They play football today.
  • She has a collection of teapots.
  • Did you install this software on your computer?
  • Could you clean the blackboard, please?
  • I grow a lot of vegetables in my greenhouse
  • They always eat breakfast early in the morning.
  • She has cleaned the washing machine.
  • I asked to be put ontheir mailing list
  • The workmen set out at sunset for a night’s shift. 
  • The dormice often come out at night.
  • 700 mm is the average annual rainfall in our region.

Examples of Compound Nouns Images

Examples of Compound Nouns

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