World Health Organization(WHO), is translated as a international(world) organization for health. Monda Organizo pri Sano(eo) or Organisation mondiale de la santé(fr) and سازمان جهانی بهداشت(fa). But I don't understand how it possible. Based on order of words in english it should be an organization for world health. because the word "health" comes after "world". So "world" is an adjective for health and not for organization. As it is in "United Nations Association" that united is an adjective for nations and not for association and it translate on this pattern. for example Organización de las Naciones(fr). What is the difference and why I am wrong?

  • Translated into what?? The English is WHO.
    – Lambie
    Jul 22, 2022 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


It is an interesting question, with good thinking.

The Point which you get wrong is that "A B C" in English is ambiguous, with atleast 4 Possible meanings: (1) "A is Adjective for B C" OR (2) " A & B are Adjectives for C" OR (3) "A is Adjective for B which is Adjective for C" OR (4) "A B is the Adjective Clause or Phrase for C".


the big blue book : big & blue are adjectives for book
early solar system : early is the adjective for solar system
the bright red book : the book is red, the red is actually bright
the most commonly used word : word is the noun with the Adjective Clause or Phrase

In your Example:

World & Health are adjectives for Organization
World is not the adjective for Health


World is the adjective for Health Organization
World is the adjective for Health which in turn is the adjective for Organization

When necessary, there are ways to remove the ambiguity eg by using commas, hyphens, reordering, etc.

In most cases, the ambiguity is removed by the context, or by the common meaning.

  • 1
    And in many cases, including the WHO, it doesn't actually matter. Jul 22, 2022 at 6:28
  • Correct , that is why the Penultimate line is "When necessary" & the last line implicitly covers the case "When unnecessary" , @AndrewLeach , WHO is the case where it is unnecessary by common meaning !
    – Prem
    Jul 22, 2022 at 6:34
  • 1
    Not far off from baby formula made without babies, but commonly understood. Jul 22, 2022 at 13:37
  • An international thing, should be exist world widely. in this example the "WHO" must have buildings in all over the world. because it is an "international" organization.(like FIFA) While "WHO" in my consideration can be a single organization that thinks about "world health".
    – Masoud B
    Jul 22, 2022 at 17:33
  • WHO Does have "buildings" all over the World. Here is one random Example "WHO Country Office PO Box 177 Port Vila Vanuatu" [[ who.int/vanuatu/about-us ]] ; The "World health" may be taken as "Environment" , in which case , that will be "UNEP" UN Environment Programme or "IPCC" International Panel for Climate Change. WHO is not concerned with "world health" or the "health of the world" : WHO is only concerned with the "health of People" across the world !!
    – Prem
    Jul 22, 2022 at 18:12

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