What is an Open Compound Word? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Hyphenated Compound Words & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Compound Words
  • 0:43 Open Compound Words
  • 1:09 Examples
  • 2:30 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindsy Frazer

Dr. Frazer has taught several college level Science courses and has a master's degree in Human Biology and a PhD in Library and Information Science.

Are you a fan of french fries and ice cream? These words have more in common than just describing delicious foods; they are both open compound words. Learn what open compound words are and see examples of open compound words in this lesson.

Compound Words

When you hear the word 'hot dog' what comes to mind? You probably think about a food served on a bun and not your pet baking in the sun! Even though the words 'hot' and 'dog' have their own meanings, when we say these words together they take on a new and different meaning: a food served at most barbeques. That's because 'hot dog' is a compound word.

Compound words are two or more words combined to form a new word with its own, unique meaning. When we think about compound words, we usually think of words like breakfast, bedtime or airplane. These compound words are formed by combining two smaller words into one larger word.

Open Compound Words

By now I'm sure you have noticed that 'hot dog' doesn't quite look like those other compound words. That's because hot dog is a specific type of compound word called an open compound word.

Open compound words are compound words written as two separate words but said together as one word with its own meaning. In other terms, a compound word is made up of two or more words that are written separately, meaning they have a space between them.


Now let's look at some sentences using open compound words.

  • To satisfy my sweet tooth, I ate a banana split.

Can you spot the two open compound words in this sentence? 'Sweet tooth' and 'banana split' are both open compound words, because their parts are separated by a space but when the parts are read together they take on a larger meaning.

'Sweet' by itself means sugary, but when it is combined with 'tooth', the word for the body parts in your mouth used for chewing, it expresses the idea of craving sugary foods.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account