This is a more general context but just to give an example of my question:

Why is it written as Justice League and not as League of Justice? I am a spanish speaker and in spanish it is "Liga de la Justicia", so for me it should the second one but it is not. OF course, there are other examples of my concern but that is just to show one (I can't think of some other example right now).


1 Answer 1


The writer chose the title Justice League instead of League of Justice because (per StoneyB) it is a shortened version of the original name of the comic book, which was Justice League of America.

Justice League and League of Justice have exactly the same meaning. We also say Apple tree in preference to tree of apple(s), perhaps because the shorter expression is more concise (or less "klunky"!)

From a grammatical standpoint, the word justice here is a noun adjunct. It is common in English to use a noun as an adjective to modify another noun. This is sometimes called an attributive noun, and it always appears in the prenomial position, before the noun it modifies. This Wikipedia article explains the noun adjunct in depth.

Other examples in English are:

  • Apple tree
  • Toy factory
  • Reference book
  • Cough medicine
  • Death rate
  • Word salad
  • Chicken soup

Although this phrase is very commonly used as an exemplar of the noun adjunct, a spirited discussion of this particular phrase here raises interesting questions.

  • The two mean the same thing. League of Justice is perhaps a little more sonorous/pompous, but the name started in 1960 as Justice League of America, derived from a 1940s Justice Society of America, and I think most people would have found League of Justice of America pretty klunky. Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 21:54
  • @StoneyB Did we ever resolve "chicken soup" to your satisfaction? And shall we serve it with a side of word salad? Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 21:58
  • To tell the truth, I doubt that the matter is resolvable. Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 0:01

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