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I think most people would read coal layers and peat bogs as compounds also; but on these there might be a difference of opinion. The same may be said of millstone grit in the next quotation. But there can be no doubt as to


‘You know that if you heat a poker, it expands; the heat making it longer. The earth is in the same state as a hot poker, and parts of it expand or contract as the heat within it ebbs and flows. I have here a section of the coal measures of Lancashire. Upon a thick base of millstone grit, of which most of our hills are composed, you have the coal producing rocks, which, instead of being horizontal as they were originally, have been tilted up.’— W. Boyd Dawkins, On Coal.

An incident which attends upon the act of compounding is this, that the old grammatical habit of the final member is subjected to the grammatical idea of the new compound. Any parts of speech will assume in compounding the substantive character, and will pluralise as such. Thus forgetme-not, plural forget-me-nots. I remember a quaker lady, who, with the grave and gentle dignity that formed part of her beautiful character, disapproved of chimney-ornaments, on the ground that they were need-nots. A plural form, on entering into composition, takes a new character as a singular, and withal a new power of receiving a new plurality. Thus, sixpence, plural sixpences.

Inasmuch then as compounds are in their nature and origin nothing but fragments of structure in a state of cohesion, it follows that they will most naturally be classified according to the divisions of syntax. And although a precise classification may hardly be practicable, owing to the vast play of fancy, and the consequent inter-crossing of the kinds of compounds, yet we shall experience in following such a division some of that practical convenience which attends a method that is substantially true to nature. The relation between the parts of a compound is expressed either by the relative position of the parts, as in the difference between pathfield, racehorse, and fieldpath, horserace ; or by an inflection of one of the parts, as in subtle-cadenced; or by the intervention of a symbolic word, as in man-of-war, breadand-cheese. We will speak of these three as Compounds of the First Order, Compounds of the Second Order, and Compounds of the Third Order.


The most prevalent means by which compounds are made is by mere juxtaposition. This is the case in many important languages besides English. In Hebrew for example, Beer signifies a well, and Sheba signifies an oath; and when these two are put together, we have the name Beersheba, which means the well of the oath. But in the true English analogue the positions of the parts would be reversed, and it would stand as Oath-well. In Welsh the order is the same as in Hebrew, and the reverse of the English order. Thus Llan is church, and Fair is an altered form of Mair, which is Mary, and the Welsh express Mary-church in the reverse order, Llanfair. In all these instances the compound follows the order usual in the syntactical construction of each language.

But our English order of juxtaposition is the most widely adopted, and it may be regarded as the most natural. The famous collection of ancient Sanskrit hymns is called the Rig-Veda, and this title answers part for part to our ‘Hymnbook.’

The general principle of the compounds of the first order is this, that two words are united, with the understanding that the first is adjectival or adverbial to the second; in other words, the second is principal and the first modificatory. The simplest examples are those which are made of an adjective and a substantive, as blackbird. The most characteristic are those which are made of two nouns, the first acting as an adjective. Such are the following:—

air-balloon main-spring
alder-bush marsh-mallow
bed-stead nine-pins
bell-wire nut-cracker
boat-swain oak-apple
cart-horse packe-horse (Shakspeare)
clock-work park-paling
coal-scuttle pig-nut
dog-kennel prize-ox
edge-tool quern-stone
fire-balloon rick-yard
fish-wife ring-leader
gift-horse sail-yard
girl-graduates (Tennyson) ship-mate
goat-herd spindle-whorl
hand-loom tar-barrel
hearth-stone time-piece
heir-loom town-clerk
horse-box upas-tree
ingle-nook vine-yard
ink-horn war-horse
king-cup water-hole (Australia)
lamp-oil yeaning-time
loop-hole yoke-fellow

This is the sort of compound for which the German language is so distinguished. The flat syntax has disappeared from that language, and it has gone to swell the numbers of their flat compounds. Examples are such as Šumb-sdoub (hand-shoe), glove; Śinger-but (finger-hat), thimble; Gro-fumbe (earth-knowledge), geography; ©prad-letre, speech-lore. There is so close an affinity between the German and English compounds of the first order, that the one will occasionally supply a comment on the other. Asandywork affords an example of this. As we find it printed, it has the appearance of our adjective handy combined with a substantive zwork. But the German Éamomperf suggests a truer etymology. It consists, in fact, of two substantives, namely hand and geweore, or (mediaevally) yawork; so that it would be more correctly written thus, hand-ywork. But if this looks too archaic, it should be spelt handiwork, as indeed it is given in Dr. Latham's edition of Johnson's Dictionary. The Saxon original is found in Deuteronomy iv. 28:— “And ge peowiap fremdum godum, And ye (shall) serve foreign gods, manna hand geweorc, treowene and men's handiwork, tree-en and stonen, staenene, pane geseop, ne ne gehirap, that see not, nor hear; and they eat me hig ne etap, ne hig ne drincap." not, and drink not. Other Saxon compounds there are of the same mould, but none that have so nearly preserved their original form as handiwork has. One of these was handgewrit, which has been turned into handwriting. There is no hyphen in Saxon manuscripts, but words that have an accentual attraction were often written somewhat nearer to one another. In the text of my Saxon Chronicles, this is represented by a half-distance, where the originals justify it. Some words were thus divided in two, which have coalesced since.

A.D. 473. (A) here reaf army-spoil
495. aldormen chief-men
5 I4. WestSeaxe West-Saxons
633. biscepsetl bishop-seat

643. Cenwalh.
648. Cupred.

66o. biscep dom bishopric

676. Centlond Kent-land

7O4. munuchad monk-hood
738. Eoforwic York

755. godsumu godson

773. setlgong setting (of sun) 823. Ecgbryht

832. Sceapige Sheppey

833. warlstow battle-ground

85 I. healf hund half-hundred

A.D. 853. biscepsunu god-son

monigmon many-a-man

855. ham weard homeward
healf gear half-year

866. wintersetl winter-quarters

871. warl sliht battle-slaughter

878. morfaesten moor-fastness
crismlising chrysom-loosing

882. sciphlaestas ship-loads

887. broporsunu nephew (lit. brother-son) folcgefeoht folk-fight

891. bocladen book-Latin

894. here hyö army-stuff

896. stalwyrö stalworth

92 I. mund bora protector

933. landhere land-array
sciphere ship-array

937. beah gifa badge-giver
gar mitting spear-meeting
warpengewrixl weapon-wrestling
wal feld battle-field.

The following have an adjective (or participle) in the second place, and the same relation holds good between the parts; for the first part, whatever its habit as a part of speech, is still the subordinate and modificatory of the two:—


“Misled by custom, strain celestial themes
Through the pressed nostril, spectacle-bestrid.’

William Cowper, The Timepiece.

blood-thirsty heart-whole
fancy-free (Shakspeare) life-long
full-blown rathe-ripe
foot-sore thunder-struck
heart-sick weather-wise

The following are Tennysonian :—

five-words-long mock-solemn
love-loyal maiden-meek

In these compounds each part retains its presentive signification, although the one part is subordinated to the other

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