Can "time-consuming" be used as a noun?

In Google I find more hits for its usage as noun, in phrases such as:

...problems such as time-consuming, low...

  • 1
    The text you've quoted in your question gives no results on Google. Can you provide a fuller quote, or a link to where you found it?
    – LMS
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 14:30
  • 2
    The short answer for that short bit of a longer sentence is: no. X is time-consuming; a time-consuming activity. In fact, it is always an adjective.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


I could only find one example of its use as a noun: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6780067/

In conventional approach to mine data, we often use to join several relations to form a single relation using foreign key links, which is known as flatten. Flatten may cause problems such as time consuming, data redundancy and statistical skew on data."

This is just an error by a non-native writer of English. There are other errors, such as the missing article before "conventional"

In general, there is no reason why "time-consuming" cannot be a noun (or a gerund), but it would be rare and odd. An expression like "Time wasting" may often be better:

  • I question the wisdom of taking a text that is clearly unidiomatic and then trying to name words as parts of speech. Time-consuming, energy-driven, food-producing, weapon-wielding are nouns + past participles and can never be nouns. They can only be adjectives. And this form is one of the more poetic aspects of English.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 14:53
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    Not sure what your point is. The quoted text (and I suspect the ones that the OP has) is non-idiomatic but grammatical, and "time-consuming" is used as a gerund. I have said that this is an error by the writer, and offered a possible alternative. "Time wasting" can certainly be used nominally. I think you are not correct: "Weapon-wielding may not start before breakfast" is well formed (if odd) It could be a sign at a LARP meeting.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 15:04
  • "In general, there is no reason why "time-consuming" cannot be a noun". That is simply not an accurate statement on its face. "Time wasting", yes, but not: time-wasting as used in a "time-wasting activity". When people are learning a language, the devil is in the detail. Also, I do not think that posting a site with gibberish (grammatically speaking) is useful.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 15:11

In English, we form some adjectives using a noun and a present participle or past participle:

- A time-consuming or time-wasting activity

- An experience-enhancing situation

- A money-spending initiative

- A fun-loving child

- An alcohol-fueled evening

- A cash-driven investment

- A gun-toting bandit

Generally speaking, none of those can be used as nouns. When one has mastery of the formation of this kind of adjective, one is considered to be an advanced speaker of the language.

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