Compound Adjectives

A compound adjective is a hyphenated adjective, which contains 2 or more words. For example, French-speaking (country), ill-famed (person), one-hour (class), way-too-long-to-be-taken-seriously (speech), etc. Compound adjectives which are 3 or more words long (such as way-too-long-to-be-taken-seriously) are usually typical of informal language.

In this article we’ll look at compound adjectives describing people’c character.

GOOD CHARACTER TRAITS

Compound adjective Meaning Example
Open-minded willing to consider new ideas It’s especially important to be open-minded when relocating.
Broad-minded tolerant or liberal in one’s views and reactions We should be broad-minded toward minorities.
Strong-willed

Iron-willed

determined on a course of action, resolute A strong-willed woman is one who knows what she wants and goes after it (tries to get something that other people are also competing for).
Well-balanced emotionally stable A good teacher is a well-balanced person.
Even-tempered not easily annoyed or made angry She is even-tempered and that’s why perfect for this job.
Family-oriented putting family first Becoming-family oriented often involves a change in both mindset (way of thinking) and behavior.
Clear-headed thinking logically, sensibly He’ll be clear-headed and able to testify.
Self-assured

Self-confident

confident in one’s own abilities or character The most important asset an attorney has is his ability to always be self-assured.
Good-natured

Warm-hearted

kind, friendly He is abrupt (brief to the point of rudeness), but is, in fact, a good-natured person.
Open-handed

Free-handed

generous He is one of the most open-handed art collectors in the whole of America.
Big-hearted kind and generous I appreciate big-hearted people, not big-headed.
Down-to-earth practical and realistic You have your own way of seeing the world, and it’s fun and down-to-earth.
Quick-witted

Quick-thinking

Sharp-witted

quick to notice and understand things He’s quick-witted and energetic.
Thick-skinned insensitive to criticism or insults In order to settle this well, we’ll have to be thick-skinned about it.
Cool-headed not easily worried or excited From now on, you make your own, cool-headed decisions.
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Let’s be cool-headed and thick-skinned about it!

BAD CHARACTER TRAITS

Compound adjective Meaning Example
Bad-tempered becoming angry and annoyed very easily; crabby, grumpy I’m always bad-tempered in the morning.
Big-headed behaving in a way that shows that you think you are very important or intelligent I just hate bog-headed people!
Bloody-minded deliberately refusing to accept that you are not completely right about something, in a way that is not helpful to other people and annoys them; deliberately uncooperative He knows that he’s not right, but he’s just being bloody-minded.
Narrow-minded

Close-minded

not willing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from your own You can’t be happy in a new environment if you are narrow-minded.
Self-conscious nervous or uncomfortable because you are worried about what people think about you or your actions I always feel a bit self-conscious in a hat.
Self-centered

Self-regarding

Self-absorbed

Self-obsessed

caring only about yourself Kelly is a good kid who is also, at times, self-centered.
High-strung very nervous and easily upset; edgy I’m so high-strung because of the stressful work I do.
Thin-skinned easily hurt by criticism or easily made unhappy; touchy You have to be careful what you say to Mark – he’s rather thin-skinned.
Dim-witted stupid Sam was portrayed as some sort of dim-witted blonde.
Tight-fisted

Close-fisted

Scrooge-like

unwilling to spend money Don’t wait for Kim to buy you a drink – she’s so tight-fisted.
Lily-livered (literary) not brave People have become weak-willed and lily-livered.
Weak-kneed

Weak-willed

not brave or determined enough to defend your beliefs against others Instead of defending traditional values, the church often seems weak-kneed.
Wishy-washy  having no firm ideas, principles, or noticeable qualities of any type I’m sick and tired of wishy-washy applicants.
Work-shy disliking work and trying to avoid it when possible Most of the unemployed are not work-shy and genuinely want jobs.
Absent-minded forgetful, inattentive He’s the most absent-minded man, but he has a heart of gold.

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