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Last Updated October 8, 2021, 2:15 pm
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Vocabulary: compound adjectives

1 Choose the word that collocates best with the compound adjective in each sentence.
  1. Of course Jim is a self-made_____ He didn't inherit a penny.
    a) success b) tycoon c) millionaire
  2. The President of the United States never goes out in public without wearing a bullet-proof _____
    a) shirt b) suit c) vest
  3. Jim is very disorganised. He's a bit like an a absent-minded_________
    a) teacher b) professor c) scientist
  4. I'm afraid we've had to call this last-minute ____due to the unexpected resignation of Tony, the Sales Manager.
    a) meeting b) gathering c) conference
  5. Who exactly is this so-called____who is going to tell us all what to do?
    a) connoisseur b) expert c) professional
  6. I hate these modern, mass-produced ____ I want an old-fashioned one with style!
    a) vacuum cleaners b) TVs c) sofas
  7. Doesn't he look great in that tight-fitting _________!
    a) cap b) scarf c) T-shirt
  8. I hate working in air-conditioned_____ I always catch colds.
    a) offices b) environments c) spaces
  9. I can't come out tonight. I've got a long­standing ____to have dinner with my brother.
    a) appointment b) arrangement c) agreement
  10. Sarah is a very level-headed_____ She never acts impulsively.
    a) young woman b) good friend c) nice teenager
2 Discuss with another student the meaning of each of the compound adjectives above. When you have finished check your dictionary. How are the compound adjectives above pronounced? Where does the main stress fall?
3 Read these sentences. Then match each of the underlined compound adjectives with one of the definitions below.
  1. Don't drive fast in built-up areas. It's very dangerous.
  2. We were too hard up to afford new clothes.
  3. You look quite pale and run-down. Are you eating properly?
  4. That's the third broken-down old car I've seen at the side of the road today!
  5. Now Sarah's been promoted, we're actually quite well-off.
  6. You will receive a one-off payment of £500, but that's all.
  7. I feel really burnt out. I've been doing this job for far too long.
  8. I wil stay at home today. I'm worn out.

Definitions of the compound adjectives

  1. when a large machine e.g. a lift, has stopped working
  2. your health is ruined because of working too hard
  3. very tired, exhausted
  4. an area with a lot of buildings and few open spaces
  5. having more money than many other people or enough money to have a good standard of living
  6. tired and not very healthy
  7. happening or done only once, not as part of a regular series
  8. not having enough money to buy the things you need, especially for a short period of time
4 Make sentences which show the meaning of seven compound adjectives from Exercise 1 or 3 above. Leave a gap where the compound adjective should go. Show your sentences to other students and see if they can decide which compound adjective is missing.


Clive and Nicola have inherited a lot of money from their grandmother so now they are very .
Show Adjectives
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