Definition of open compound in US English:

open compound


  • A word made up of two or more existing words separated by a space, e.g. school bus, life jacket, mobile phone.

    • ‘The task of finding the open compounds in text which ought to have lexical entries is a very difficult one.’
    • ‘When a noun that is an open compound is preceded by an adjective, a hyphen is often added to prevent confusion.’
    • ‘In an index including many open compounds starting with the same word, the word-by-word system may be easier for users.’
    • ‘In the North Central Desert sign languages, we do not find the kind of open compounds that are so freely invented by the Cistercian monks.’
    • ‘Open compounds are naturally thought of as single units.’
    • ‘When two or more closely related words form a single thought in an open compound, only the end word becomes plural.’
    • ‘Compare running shoes and running water: the first is an open compound and single-stressed.’
    • ‘Look up the following newish open compounds in a modern dictionary to see if they are yet recorded as lexemes in English.’