Mots composés – compound words

Un mot composé est un mot fait de deux mots plus petits.
Regardez les mots suivants:
plant, house, light, head, phones

Avec ces cinq mots, je peux faire quatre nouveaux:

houseplant: une plante(dans la maison)
lighthouse: phare (au bord de la mer)
headlight: phare (sur un véhicule)
headphones: casque (pour écouter la musique)

Certains mots composés paraissent un peu bizarre:

cupboard =placard (tasse+planche)
butterfly = papillon (beurre+mouche – en fait ça n’a rien à voir avec beurre, c’était juste le mot germanique qui ressemblait “butter” phonétiquement)

D’autres, on connaît bien en français:

cowboy (vache + garçon)
basketball (panier + ballon)
football (pied + ballon)
weekend (semaine + la fin)
snowboard (neige + planche)

Quand vous voyez un mot anglais qui pourrait être un mot composé, cherchez la définition des deux parties. Ainsi vous améliorez votre vocabulaire.

click here for information about compound adjectives

8 comments

  1. You have only given compound nouns ! i wanted to know more about all other classifications of words as compound words with adectives ;verbs !!!! thanks

  2. thanks a lot for this exercise, it’s good for me to understand the compound words. I like your lessons . thank Jonathan

  3. You have forgotten to tell us about the words with the hyphen. One of the word is the adjective of the other. That is a notion we learned in the Linguistic Lessons in my third and last year of English Bachelor (LLCE Anglais et Communication) in 2010.

    • Anna,

      Unfortunately, there are no rules about which compound nouns have hyphens or not, and is generally left to the discretion of the writer. The consensus seems to be that hyphens are unnecessary. In the examples that I have used, all of them have one part which acts as an adjective.
      Please remember that this site is people wishing to improve their communication in English not for people studying advanced linguistics.

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