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Compound Words

What are Compound Words?

Compound words are made by joining two or more words; the combination creates a new word. They can be formed using two nouns, e.g. basketball, two non-nouns, e.g. blowup, or a noun and non-noun, e.g. sunrise. It is important to note that the words do not always keep their original meaning, e.g. breakfast.

There are three types of compound words:

To determine if a compound word is one word, two words or hyphenated, use a dictionary to look up the word or our lists below. If you cannot find the word, treat the word as two separate words.

List of Compound Words

Closed compound words

Closed compound words have no spaces. Our list contains hundreds of compound words, so we organized them in alphabetical order. Click on a letter below to obtain a list of those compound words.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z


Closed Compound Words – A
afternoon afterthought airborne airline
airmail airplane airport airtight
anchorperson another anybody anyone
anyplace anything anytime awestruck
anyway anywhere applesauce audiotape

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Closed Compound Words – B
backache backboard backbone backbreaking
backfire background backlash backpack
backup backyard ballpark ballroom
barefoot baseball basketball bathroom
bedrock bedroom bedspread beforehand
benchmark birdhouse birthday blackbird
blackboard blowup blueprint bookstore
boyfriend brainstorm breakdown breakfast
breathtaking broadcast buildup bulldog
burnout buttermilk byproduct

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Closed Compound Words – C
campfire cannot caregiver carpool
carryover chalkboard checkout churchgoer
citywide classmate cleanup clipboard
cockpit colorblind cookbook cooperative
copperhead copyright countryside cowboy
crosswalk cupcake

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Closed Compound Words – D
database daydream daylight daytime
desktop doorbell doorknob downpour
downstairs drawbridge driveway drugstore
dugout

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Closed Compound Words – E
earring earthquake earthworm easygoing
everybody everywhere everyone everything
everyday extracurricular eyeball eyebrow
eyelid everywhere

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Closed Compound Words – F
fingernail fingerprint firefighter fireplace
fireproof firewood fireworks flashback
flashlight flowchart flowerpot folklore
football forever freelance freshwater
frostbite

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Closed Compound Words – G
gentlemen gingerbread girlfriend goldfish
grandchildren grandfather grandmother grandparent
grapefruit grasshopper gridlock groundwater
grownup

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Closed Compound Words – H
haircut hamburger handcuff handlebar
handshake haystack headache headlight
headquarter headset heartwarming herringbone
herself highway hilltop himself
homemade homeowner homesick homework
however

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Closed Compound Words – I
iceberg icebox icebreaker inchworm
indoor infield inside into
itself innkeeper

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Closed Compound Words – J
jackknife jackpot jackrabbit jawbone
jaywalk jellyfish jigsaw jumpsuit

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Closed Compound Words – K
keyboard kickoff knucklehead keepsake
kettledrum kickball keyhole keynote
killjoy kindhearted kneecap knighthood
knothole knucklehead keystone

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Closed Compound Words – L
leapfrog ladybug landlord leftover
lifeboat lifeguard lifestyle lightheaded
lighthouse lightweight lipstick longshoremen
loudspeaker

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Closed Compound Words – M
makeup marketplace maybe meantime
meanwhile miniskirt moonlight motorcycle
myself

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Closed Compound Words – N
nationwide network nevertheless newscast
newspaper nightgown nobody notebook
nowhere

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Closed Compound Words – O
oatmeal ongoing online ourselves
outcome outfield outfit outlaw
outline outside outsource outstanding
overalls overcoat overexposure overkill
overlook overpass

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Closed Compound Words – P
pancake paperback paperwork payoff
payroll peanuts peppermint percent
pinball playground playmate ponytail
popcorn postcard pothole printout
proofread

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Closed Compound Words – Q
quarrelsome quarterback quartermaster quicksand
quicksilver

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Closed Compound Words – R
railroad rainbow raincoat rattlesnake
rawhide redhead redwood rollerblade
rollout runway

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Closed Compound Words – S
sagebrush sailboat sandpaper scarecrow
scatterbrain screwdriver seacoast seafood
seagull seaport seashell seaside
seaweed seesaw shipwreck shoelace
shortstop shutdown showoff showroom
sidewalk silverware skateboard skyscraper
snowball snowfall snowflake snowman
snowplow snowshoe snowstorm softball
somebody someday somehow someone
someplace something sometimes somewhat
somewhere spacewalk spotlight spreadsheet
springtime starfish statewide stepbrother
stepfather stepmother stepsister storyteller
straightforward strawberry sugarcoat suitcase
summertime sundown sunflower sunlight
sunrise sunset sunshine sunstroke
suntan superhighway sweatshirt

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Closed Compound Words – T
tablecloth teammate textbook Thanksgiving
themselves thunderstorm timetable tiptoe
today toenail together toothbrush
touchdown trailblazer tryout tugboat
turnaround turnpike turtleneck

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Closed Compound Words – U
undercover underdog underground understatement
undertake upstairs uptown uproot
upset
Closed Compound Words – V
venturesome videocassette videotape vineyard
viewfinder viewpoint volleyball vouchsafe

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Closed Compound Words – W
wastebasket watercolor waterfall waterfront
watermelon weatherperson webpage weekday
weekend wheelchair whenever whirlpool
whiteboard wholesale windmill windpipe
windshield windsurfing wingspan wiretapping
without woodland woodpecker workday
workforce workload workplace workshop
workstation wristwatch wrongdoing

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Closed Compound Words – Y
yardarm yardstick yearbook yourself

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Closed Compound Words – Z
zookeeper

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Open compound words

Open compound words have a space between the words. The following are open compound words:

bottled water car pool cash flow cell membrane
cell phone chat room child care Christmas tree
civil right comic strip common sense course work
crossword puzzle dirt bike disk drive disc jockey
dump truck energy bar fact sheet fine art
French fry grass root health care heart attack
heat lightning help desk high school hockey puck
home page hot dog ice cream jigsaw puzzle
jungle gym junk food jumping jack key pal
killer whale Labor Day labor union laser printer
land mine lance corporal landing field landing strip
light bulb life jacket life raft life vest
life belt life buoy Little Dipper little finger
life span memory stick new world oven mitt
paper clip photo ID pinch hitter post office
paddle wheel passenger pigeon past tense past participle
peace pipe physical education picture graph planet kingdom
prime minister radiant energy radio wave real time
report card respiratory system rib cage right angle
right triangle ring finger rock dove rocking chair
rocking horse role model roller coaster Roman Catholic
root beer real estate remote control rock band
role play safety glasses salad dressing school day
school year search engine sleeping bag sports drink
square root tennis court theme park time line
time capsule tree house vacuum cleaner Valentine’s Day
vampire bat vanilla bean vending machine vice president
video camera videocassette recorder video game videotape recorder
virtual reality vocal chords voice box voice mail
waiting room walking stick web site word processing
word wall work boots

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Hyphenated compound words

The list below excludes spelled out fractions and compound numbers from 21 to 91. Please note you hyphenate all spelled out fractions, e.g., two-thirds, one-half, and compound numbers from 21 to 91, e.g., thirty-nine, ninety-one. The following are hyphenated compound words:

able-bodied A-frame brother-in-law check-in
clean-cut close-up co-op editor-in-chief
empty-handed father-in-law follow-up for-profit
free-for-all front-runner fund-raiser get-together
hanky-panky high-tech ho-hum hush-hush
in-depth in-law in-line skate jack-o’-lantern
jet-propelled king-size know-how know-it-all
life-size merry-go-round mother-in-law nitty-gritty
not-for-profit off-site one-sided on-site
pitch-black pitch-dark play-off quick-tempered
roly-poly run-in runner-up self-concept
self-service shrink-wrap single-minded strong-arm
three-dimensional tip-off topsy-turvy toss-up
two-dimensional u-turn warm-up well-being
well-to-do word-of-mouth warn-out X-ray

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Source: Fry, E.B., Ph.D. & Kress, J.E., Ed.D. (2006). The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists 5th Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary, 3rd Edition 2008.

10 comments… add one

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  • Are manila paper and class pass a compound noun? I need your help to answer this?thnxs

    Reply
    • Best guess – manila paper is a compound word and class pass is not.

      Reply
  • AWESOME INFO! Thanks for the examples.

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