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French Language French Grammar: Compound nouns

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Learn French - What are Compound Nouns?

Definition[edit | edit source]

A compound noun ("un nom composé" in French) is a name made up of several words usually separated by dashes (-) but representing only one word. However, the general meaning of the compound name does not always depend on the distinct meanings of each word that composes it, but on the general meaning given to this name.

Examples[edit | edit source]

French Compound Noun Translation
Un abat-jour lampshade
Un accroche-cœur spit curl
Un aide-comptable an assistant accountant
Un aide-cuisinier an assistant cook
un après-midi afternoon
un arc-en-ciel rainbow
un bien-aimé beloved
un brise-glace icebreaker
Un casse-noisette a nutcracker suite
Un casse-tête a brainteaser
Un cerf-volant a kite
Un chasse-neige a snowplough
Un chef-d’œuvre a masterpiece
Un chef-lieu administrative centre of an arrondissement
Un chien-guide a guide dog
un chou-fleur cauliflower
un coffre-fort safe
Un coffre-fort a strongbox
un couvre-lit bedspread
un en-tête heading
un grand-père grandfather
un gratte-ciel skyscraper
un haut-parleur loudspeaker
un laissez-passer pass(es)
Un loup-garou a werewolf
Un mandat-poste a money order
Un marteau-pilon a drop hammer
Un micro-ordinateur a microcomputer
un nouveau-né newborn
un oiseau-mouche hummingbird
un pied-plat boor
un porte-monnaie change purse
un sourd-muet deaf-mute
un soutien-gorge bra
un va-et-vient comings and goings
une arrière-cour backyard
une contre-offensive counter-offensive
une douce-amère woody nightshade

Video - Learn French: The plural of compound nouns[edit | edit source]

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