Compound Words

A compound word is a word composed of two or more words that are spelled normally and retain their usual meanings. It is easy to recognize the short, known words within compound words, and each of those short words is accented, which makes them less confusing to a beginning reader. For these reasons, compound words are often the first set of multisyllable words taught to a beginning reader.

Examples of Compound Words

  • backpack (back + pack)
  • newspaper (news + paper)
  • knapsack (knap + sack)
  • lipstick (lip + stick)
  • mouthwash (mouth + wash)
  • sunlight (sun + light)
  • raindrop (rain + drop)
  • sandpaper (sand + paper)
  • groundhog (ground + hog)
  • afternoon (after + noon)
  • motorcar (motor + car)
  • eyebrow (eye + brow)
  • butterfly (butter + fly) — This is one example in which the original words do not convey their usual meanings well.

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