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Compound Adjectives: Definition, Meaning, Types, Examples & Exercises

Last Updated : 21 Mar, 2024
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When you describe someone or something, for example, a flower, you use words like gorgeous, colorful, fresh, blossoming, and so on. You may also describe a car as brand-new, second-hand, nice-looking, old-fashioned, and so on. These words which we use to describe a car are known as compound adjectives. An adjective refers to a word that can be employed to define or add detail to a noun or pronoun. There are a lot of distinct sorts of adjectives, the majority of these adjectives are simply one word long. Yet, a few adjectives are formed by combining several terms. They are known as compound adjectives. 

What is a Compound Adjective?

A compound adjective is a word combination that can function as an adjective in a phrase. A noun, present participle, or past participle is added to an adjective to create a compound adjective. Either of these may come before the adjective in certain situations, or it may come after them in others. The majority of compound adjectives use hyphens.

Definition of a Compound Adjective

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines a compound adjective as one that is “formed of two or more parts.” “In grammar, a compound noun, adjective, or verb is made up of two or more words, for example, fire engine, bottle-green, and force-feed,” according to the Collins Dictionary.

“Compound words are two or more words linked together to produce a word with a new meaning,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. Therefore, a compound adjective is any additional component of speech that is joined with an adjective to describe the subject or object of a phrase and mean something else.

Types of Compound Adjectives with Examples

Compound Adjectives can be formed in different ways:

1.  Adverb + Past Participle

Adverb Past Participle Compound Adjective
Well Behaved Well-behaved
Brightly Colored Brightly colored
Highly Respected Highly respected
Well Known Well-known
Deeply Rooted  Deeply rooted
Well Paid Well-paid
Widely Recognized Widely-recognized
Densely Populated Densely populated

2. Noun + Past Participle

Noun Past Participle Compound Adjective
Middle Aged Middle-aged
Sun Baked Sun-baked
Home Grown Home-grown
Sun Dried Sun-dried
Water Cooled Water-cooled
Oil Soaked Oil-soaked
Child Wanted Child-wanted
Dog Used Dog-used

3. Noun + Present Participle

Noun Present Participle Compound Adjective 
Eye Catching Eye-catching
Money Saving Money-saving
Mouth Watering Mouth-watering
English Speaking English-speaking
Time Saving Time-saving
Record Breaking Record-breaking
Thought Provoking Thought-provoking
Spanish Speaking Spanish-speaking

4. Noun + Adjective

Noun Adjective Compound Adjective
World Famous World-famous
Sugar Free Sugar-free
Plastic Free Plastic-free
Family Friendly Family-friendly
Ice Cold Ice-cold
Book Smart Book-smart
Smoke Free Smoke-free
India Famous India-famous

5. Adjective + Noun

Adjective Noun Compound Adjective
Last Minute Last-minute
Long Distance Long-distance
Short Term Short-term
Full Length Full-length
High Quality High-quality
Short Distance Short distance
Long Term Long-term
Half Length Half-length

6. Adjective + Past Participle

Adjective Past Participle Compound Adjective
Old Fashioned Old-fashioned
Long Haired Long-haired
Short Lived Short-lived
Ready Made Ready-made
Kind Hearted Kind-hearted
Narrow Minded Narrow-minded
Strong Willed Strong-willed
Quick Witted Quick-witted

7. Adjective + Present Participle

Adjective Present Participle Compound Adjective
Good Looking Good-looking
Slow Moving Slow-moving
Long Lasting Long-lasting
Easy Going Easy-going
Long Running Long-running
Tight Fitting Tight-fitting
Quick Thinking Quick-thinking
Easy Going Easy-going

List of Compound Adjectives Examples

Here is a list of compound adjectives that you can make use to make your writing or speech specific and descriptive.

  • Blue-collar
  • Short-term
  • White-washed
  • Short-handed
  • Ill-minded
  • Ice-cold
  • Grass-fed
  • Home-bred
  • East-facing
  • Mouth-watering
  • Overcooked
  • Undercooked
  • Deep-fried
  • Seasick
  • Well-known
  • Tightly-wound
  • Fifty-storey
  • 100-page
  • Last-minute
  • Full-length
  • Heavy-laden
  • Short-lived
  • Long-distance
  • High-quality
  • Quick-thinking
  • Nail-biting
  • Three-hour
  • Record-breaking
  • Time-saving
  • Ready-made
  • World-famous
  • English-speaking
  • Middle-aged
  • Densely-populated
  • Highly-qualified
  • Long-forgotten
  • Highly-respected
  • Old-fashioned
  • Smoke-free
  • Waterproof
  • Shatterproof
  • Break-free
  • Four-week
  • Good-looking

10 Examples of Compound Adjectives

Compound adjectives are adjectives that consist of two or more words usually connected by hyphens. They function as a single idea to modify a noun. Here are 10 examples:

  1. Well-known: “She is a well-known author in the mystery genre.”
  2. High-quality: “They sell high-quality leather goods.”
  3. Ice-cold: “He handed me an ice-cold drink on a hot day.”
  4. Long-term: “They are making long-term investments for their children’s future.”
  5. Short-lived: “The snowstorm was intense but short-lived.”
  6. Full-time: “She has a full-time job at the hospital.”
  7. Part-time: “He works part-time while attending university.”
  8. English-speaking: “Canada is an English-speaking country.”
  9. Heart-warming: “The movie was heart-warming and brought tears to my eyes.”
  10. Bitter-sweet: “Graduating from college was a bitter-sweet moment.”

 Compound Adjectives Vs Compound Nouns

 Compound Adjectives Compound Nouns
Compound adjectives however are adjective-acting compound words. A compound noun refers to a noun that is formed from two or maybe more existing words.
Whenever two or perhaps more words could be merged to define the very same noun, the result is a compound adjective. Each compound noun is formed from two or maybe more terms that are combined to make a noun.
Eco-friendly, Good-looking, First-place, Bullet-proof, Fat-free, etc. are examples of compound adjectives. Play-ground, Movie-time, Seafood, Under-world, Bus-stop, etc. are examples of compound noun.

Compound Adjectives to Describe a Person

Compound adjectives can be particularly useful when describing a person’s characteristics, appearance, or roles in a detailed and specific manner. Compound adjectives can be particularly useful when describing a person’s characteristics, appearance, or roles in a detailed and specific manner. Here are examples of compound adjectives used to describe people:

  1. Hard-working: “She is a hard-working student who always submits her assignments on time.”
  2. Quick-thinking: “His quick-thinking saved the day during the power outage.”
  3. Well-dressed: “The well-dressed gentleman caught everyone’s attention at the gala.”
  4. Open-minded: “Being open-minded allows her to learn and grow from different experiences.”
  5. Good-natured: “His good-natured humor makes him a joy to be around.”
  6. Strong-willed: “The strong-willed leader did not give up despite the challenges.”
  7. Thin-skinned: “He is quite thin-skinned and takes criticism personally.”
  8. Light-hearted: “Her light-hearted approach to life is truly infectious.”
  9. Broad-shouldered: “The broad-shouldered athlete excels in his sport.”
  10. Short-tempered: “The short-tempered chef is known for his outbursts in the kitchen.”

Compound Adjectives Exercises

Que.1 Describe the following nouns using compound adjectives.

  1. Girl who looks good- ___________________
  2. Machine that saves time- _______________
  3. Car that moves slow-_________________
  4. Food that makes your mouth water- ________________
  5. Girl with short hair- ______________
  6. Product with high quality- ______________
  7. Chocolate that is free from sugar- ______________
  8. Man, who has an open mind- ____________________
  9. Person who speaks English- ______________
  10. Vegetables that are grown at home- _________________
  11. People who are well educated- _______________
  12. Woman, who is highly respected in society- _________________
  13. Boy who thinks quickly- ______________
  14. Place that is on a long distance- _______________
  15. Story that is famous in the world- _________________
  16. Toys that are wanted by child- __________________
  17. Fashion that is old- ___________________
  18. Cookies that are baked by sun- __________________
  19. Race that breaks the record- ____________________
  20. Products that last for a long time- __________________

Compound Adjectives Worksheet

This worksheet is designed to help learners understand and practice compound adjectives. Each exercise below encourages the identification, formation, and use of compound adjectives in sentences.

  1. Identification
    Read the sentences below and highlight the compound adjectives.
    • “She offered me some homemade cookies.”
    • “The documentary presented a thought-provoking perspective on wildlife conservation.”
  2. Formation
    Combine the words in brackets to form a compound adjective and complete the sentence.
    • “He works as a (full, time) chef in a renowned restaurant.”
    • “Their wedding was a (lavish, scale) event attended by celebrities.”
  3. Usage
    Use the compound adjectives provided to complete the sentences.
    • “The (state-of-the-art) technology has revolutionized the industry.”
    • “After the storm, we found a (water-logged) diary in the attic.”


  1. Girl who looks good- good-looking girl
  2. Machine that saves time- time-saving machine
  3. Car that moves slow- slow-moving car
  4. Food that makes your mouth water- mouth-watering food
  5. Girl with short hair- short-haired girl
  6. Product with high quality- high-quality product
  7. Chocolate that is free from sugar- sugar-free chocolate
  8. Man, who has an open mind- open-minded man
  9. Person who speaks English- English-speaking person
  10. Vegetables that are grown at home- home-grown vegetables
  11. People who are well educated- well-educated people
  12. Woman, who is highly respected in society- highly-respected woman
  13. Boy who thinks quickly- quick-thinking boy
  14. Place that is on a long distance- long-distanced place
  15. Story that is famous in the world- world-famous story
  16. Toys that are wanted by child- child-wanted toy
  17. Fashion that is old- old-fashioned
  18. Cookies that are baked by sun- sunbaked cookies
  19. Race that breaks the record- record-breaking race
  20. Products that last for a long time- long-lasting products

Also Read: What is a Compound Noun? Definition, Types & Examples

Compound Adjectives in English-FAQs

What are Compound Adjectives?

A compound adjective means a term that comprises more than one word. A compound adjective is generated whenever two or maybe more adjectives are combined to enhance mostly the same noun. To minimize misunderstanding or conflicts, these nouns should always be paired. 

What is the definition of Compound Adjectives?

A compound adjective is one that comprises more than one word. A hyphen separates the two words which form up the compound adjective, and it’s utilized just before descriptions of individuals, places, or things.

Give some examples of Compound Adjectives.

  1. Harry Potter is a world-famous novel.
  2. Priyanka Chopra is good-looking actress.
  3. Tata nano is very slow-moving car.
  4. Zara cloths are very tight- fitting.
  5. I like to have sugar-free coffee.
  6. Mahatma buddha was very kind-hearted person.
  7. My daughter’s performance was eye-catching.
  8. Arohi is a well-behaved student in her class.
  9. Jaunpur is a very densely populated city.
  10. I have to leave the house on a very short-term notice.
  11. Technology is very timesaving.
  12. I want to see India smoke-free nation in the coming decade.
  13. This rose powder is sun-dried powder.
  14. This is the fashion is ready-made woolens.
  15. I complete my project on the last-minute of submission.

Why to use Compound Adjectives?

Accurately complementing compound adjectives not only will highlight your literary but it will additionally assist your audience digest your thoughts better effortlessly. Whenever a compound adjective is not classified to demonstrate that it is one syntactic component, your audiences scan may pause for a time because they combine the terms into a singular body.

How to find Compound Adjectives in a sentence?

Since compound adjectives are also adjectives, they may be identified in a phrase in the same way that adjectives are.

  1. Look for either a term that comes just before noun and characterizes the noun.
  2. Look for terms that come after a noun and characterise the noun.
  3. Look for adjectives that follow verbs.
  4. Look for adjectives that directly compare inside phrases.

There are several methods for locating an adjective. The same methods could be employed to discover compound adjectives.

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