To what extent compound words are appropriate in English? Are the "onthedownburninghouseresting", "firesurrounded" valid words in English?
closed as off-topic by snailboat♦, StoneyB, ColleenV♦, user3169, Nigel Harper Oct 12 '14 at 9:14
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In English, compound nouns consisting of more than two words are typically hyphenated.
If you ask the man-on-the-street...
does not mean
If you ask the man on the street...
Man-on-the-street means "the average Joe" or "the average guy". "The man on the street" means "the man who is on the roadway."
There are a handful of such words. But it's also possible to create an almost infinite number of quasi-neologisms by yoking the words in a descriptive phrase in that same manner.
Some women are hat-wearers and some are not. He always had a caught-in-the-act-look on his face.
or alternatively, a compound adjective:
He always had a caught-in-the-act look on his face.