open compound

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open compound (plural open compounds)

  1. (grammar) A compound word with spaces in it, for example, high school, school bus, or science fiction.
    Hypernyms: compound, compound word
    Coordinate term: closed compound
    • 1951, English Journal, Volume 40:
      Two-word compounds--named open compounds in Edward N. Teall's Meet Mr. Hyphen--are in fact very common.
    • 1966, Ladislas Országh, Deficiencies of Modern English Dictionaries in English Studies Today, Fourth Series[1]:
      Thus such words, to give only a very few examples, as pismire, baise-mains, favonian, hearstling, happenstance, chanticleer, and open compounds like guardhouse lawyer,sidewalk superintendent and slush fund are registered without any kind of status label ...
    • 1971, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Volume 5[2]:
      Further, the language permits open compounds, as indicated above, so that we might conjecture such spellings as "battlecry, battle-field, battle ground, battle-piece and battlewise."
    • 1981, Jewish Language Review:
      Should the Yiddish noun ris-uf 'start' be written as an open or a hyphenated compound? The MEYYED gives it as an open compound (ris uf) in the English- Yiddish ...
    • 1992, Sheila Davis, The Songwriter's Idea Book[3]:
      The examples also exemplify the three forms that compound words take: 1) open compound (snail mail); 2) hyphenated compound (eagle-eyed); and 3) solid compound (bookworm).
    • 1996, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law[4]:
      A subentry is an open compound (e.g., express contract) whose major element is the noun (contract at whose alphabetical place the subentry is entered.
    • 2008, Oxford American Large Print Dictionary[5]:
      In an open compound, the component words are separate, with no hyphen (well fed; wagon train).
    • 2011, Language-independent Compound Splitting with Morphological Operations[6]:
      Some compounds are written as space-separated words, which are called open compounds (e.g. hard drive), while others are written as single words, which are called closed compounds (e.g. wallpaper). In this paper, we shall focus only on closed compounds because open compounds do not require further splitting.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Compounds are hard to define exactly, especially since it is difficult to distinguish compounds from phrases.[1][2]


Coordinate terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]