Spaced Compound Content Word

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A Spaced Compound Content Word is a compound content word with a pause or whitespace.

  • AKA: Open Compound Word.
  • Context:
  • Example(s):
    • data mining”, “life insurance”. “high schools”, “real time”,
    • absolute monarchy”, “answering machine”, “attorney general””, “automatic teller machine”, “bed and breakfast”,
    • bottom line”, “cross-platform application development”, “cruise missile”, “dining room”, “eating utensil”,
    • fast food restaurant”, “fortune cookie”, “health care”, “high school”, “high-definition television”,
    • king of the hill”, “law enforcement officer”, “microwave oven”, “milk chocolate”, “natural language”,
    • non rapid eye movement”, “rapid transit”, “real estate”, “red herring fallacy”, “rock 'n' roll”,
    • tea bag”, “terrace house”, “user interface”, “work in progress”, “yellow fever”.
    • Spaced Compound Proper Nouns???.
      • Michael Jackson”, a Proper Noun.
      • the Andes
      • the New York Yankees”, illustrates that it can require different syntactic rules. E.g. “A The New York Yankees spokesman” is invalid.
      • Canadian Swallowtail Tiger Butterfly” and “Papilio glaucas” are two words that refer to the same Concept.
  • Counter-Example(s):
  • See: Hyphenated Compound Word, Unspaced Compound Word, Bound (Grammar).



  • (Wikipedia, 2015) ⇒ Retrieved:2015-5-29.
    • Since English is a mostly analytic language, unlike most other Germanic languages, it creates compounds by concatenating words without case markers. As in other Germanic languages, the compounds may be arbitrarily long. [1] However, this is obscured by the fact that the written representation of long compounds always contains spaces. Short compounds may be written in three different ways, which do not correspond to different pronunciations, however:
    • Usage in the US and in the UK differs and often depends on the individual choice of the writer rather than on a hard-and-fast rule; therefore, open, hyphenated, and closed forms may be encountered for the same compound noun, such as the triplets container ship/container-ship/containership and particle board/particle-board/particleboard.

      In addition to this native English compounding, there is the classical type, which consists of words derived from Latin, as horticulture, and those of Greek origin, such as photography, the components of which are in bound form (connected by connecting vowels, which are most often -i- and -o- in Latin and Greek respectively) and cannot stand alone.

  1. Plag, Ingo. “"Word-formation in English"". Cambridge University Press, 2003, p.172. “There is no structural limitation on the recursivity of compounding, but the longer a compound becomes the more difficult it is for the speakers/listeners to process, i.e. produce and understand correctly. Extremely long compounds are therefore disfavored not for structural but for processing reasons."