Adman Compound Word List -- American English -- Page 1

American English uses many compound words. Many of these are not accepted in British English, however. I use these to show how we combine two words to make a new word. Many times the students know the single words and I let them try to discover what new word is created by the combination. Acknowledge that some of the words may be used as two words but with a new meaning. An example is "afternoon" and "after noon." Also some words can be expressed as two words with no change in meaning. An example is "ballgame" and "ball game." Some cannot be used as two words such as "applesauce." In general most compound words take on the meaning of the combination of the two words in the compound word. This not always true, however. The word understand does not take on the meaning of either of the two words that make up that compound word.

Below are some seemingly compound nouns that might tend to mislead non-native speakers.

  1. afterward
  2. afterclap
  3. hotshot
  1. afterdamp
  2. aftermath
  3. crosstalk
  1. commonwealth
  2. copycat
  3. freeboot
  1. copyright
  2. cornball
  3. leghorn
  1. corpsman
  2. countryman
  3. crestfallen
  1. cowbird
  2. crackpot
  3. crapshoot
Billy Mays - Pitchman