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Compound Adjectives: Useful Rules, List & Examples


What Are Compound Adjectives? Learn how to form Compound Adjectives and Compound Adjective list with examples. Compound adjectives are adjectives that are made up of two or more words usually with hyphens (-) between them.

Forming Compound Adjectives

Compound adjectives can be formed as follows:

Adjective + Past participle

  • narrow-minded

He was too narrow-minded and prejudiced and bigoted.

  • high-spirited

Sophie’s a high-spirited young girl.

  • old-fashioned

An old-fashioned bell tinkled as he pushed open the door.

  • short-haired

He was dancing with a short-haired woman.

  • absent-minded

The actress was so absent-minded that she fluffed her lines.

  • strong-willed

She’s very strong-willed and if she’s decided to leave school, nothing will stop her.

  • quick-witted

He proved himself a quick-witted negotiator.

  • kind-hearted

Everyone says he is a kind-hearted man.

Adverb + Past Participle

  • well-behaved

He is an obedient and well-behaved child.

  • well-educated

I come from a well-educated family.

  • densely-populated

The Republic of Malta is a small and densely-populated island nation in southern Europe.

  • widely-recognized

She’s a widely-recognized expert in technology.

  • highly-respected

Our speaker tonight is a highly-respected scholar.

  • brightly-lit

He walked into the brightly-lit kitchen, opened the fridge, took out a bottle of water.

Noun + Past Participle

  • sun-baked

We strolled along the sun-baked streets of Naples.

  • child-wanted

I wanted to buy my daughter the most child-wanted toy.

  • middle-aged

I noticed two middle-aged passengers.

Noun + Present Participle

  • English-speaking

United Kingdom is an English-speaking country.

  • time-saving

We spend a fortune on the latest time-saving gadgets.

  • record-breaking

The show had a record-breaking run in the London theatre.

  • mouth-watering

The waitress came round with a tray of mouth-watering cream cakes.

  • thought-provoking

The film had a thought-provoking message.

Adjective + Present Participle

  • good-looking

He was tall and quite good-looking.

  • long-lasting

The impact of divorce on children can be long-lasting.

  • slow-moving

He was stuck in a line of slow-moving traffic.

  • far-reaching

Our findings have far-reaching consequences for researchers.

Adverb + Present Participle

  • never-ending

Writing a dictionary is a never-ending task.

  • forward-thinking

Some forward-thinking politicians are proposing reforms to the educational system.

Noun + Adjective

  • world-famous

His books are world-famous.

  • ice-cold

I’d love an ice-cold beer.

  • smoke-free

This is a smoke-free restaurant.

Adjective + Noun

  • full-length

full-length portrait of the Queen hung on the wall.

  • last-minute

It was a last-minute decision.

Noun + Noun

  • part-time

We have 20 part-time members of staff .

Adjective + Adjective

  • fat-free

You can put it over frozen yogurt, fat-free ice cream, whatever you like.

Forming Compound Adjectives | Image

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