Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Types and forms of nouns - thesaurus

Related words



the form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective that you use in some languages when you are talking about who something is done by, what something is done with, or where something comes from

abstract noun


a common noun that refers to a quality, idea, or feeling rather than to a person or a physical object. For examplethought’, ‘problem’, ‘law’, and ‘opportunity’ are all abstract nouns.

collective noun


a noun that refers to a group of people and is followed by a singular or plural verb, for exampleteam’ or ‘family

common noun


any noun that is not the name of a specific person or thing. For examplewoman’, ‘dog’, ‘mountain’, and ‘idea’ are common nouns, while ‘Sarah’, ‘Rover’, and ‘Mount Everest’ are proper nouns. The two types of common noun are concrete noun and abstract noun.

concrete noun


a common noun that refers to anything with a physical reality that you can see or touch. For examplehair’, ‘bread’, ‘rat’ and ‘mobile phone’ are all concrete nouns.

countable noun


a noun that has singular and plural forms. In the plural, countable nouns usually add an ‘s’ or ‘es’, for examplemistakes’, 'problems', and ‘buses’. When it is singular, a countable noun usually comes after a determiner such as ‘a’, ‘this’, ‘any’, or ‘a lot of’, for example ‘this house, ‘a week’, and ‘the way’.

direct object


in active clauses, a type of grammatical object that refers to the person or thing that is directly involved in or affected by the action of the verb, but does not perform the action. In English, the direct object is usually a noun or pronoun, for example in the sentencesDrink up your milk’, and ‘I loved her’, the direct objects are ‘your milk' and ‘her’.



a form of the noun or pronoun in the grammar of some languages, used to show possession. In English, this is shown by adding ‘’s’ at the end of the word, for example ‘Sarah’s birthday’.



a noun formed by adding ‘-ing’ to a verb, that describes an action, such as ‘running’ or ‘believing

indirect object


a type of grammatical object that refers to the person who receives something from or benefits from an action. An indirect object is usually a noun or pronoun. For example in the sentences ‘She taught me a lot about music’ and ‘We were given free tickets to the concert’, the indirect objects are ‘me’ and ‘we’.

mass noun


a noun such as ‘soap’ that is usually uncountable but is also used with ‘a’ or ‘an’, or in the plural, to talk about different types of something. For example the nounsoap’ in ‘Wash your hands with soap and water’ is uncountable, while in ‘You should choose a mild soap’ and ‘Some soaps are very strongly perfumed’, ‘soap’ is countable. A mass noun is used in both these ways.






in some languages, the form of a noun or pronoun when it is the subject of a verb



a word or compound that refers to a person, thing, place, or abstract quality. ‘Friend’, ‘credit card’, ‘California’, and ‘peace’ are all nouns.

noun group


a group containing at least one noun or pronoun (the head) and often other items such as determiners, adjectives, and prepositional phrases. For example, ‘her brilliant novel’, 'we both’, ‘a large glass of orange juice’, and ‘very few people in this area’ are all noun groups. A noun group can be the subject, object, or complement in a clause, or the object of a preposition.



an example of a noun that has come from a verb, for exampleask’ in the sentence ‘It’s a big ask to play five tough matches in 17 days

proper noun


a noun that names a particular person, place, or thing and begins with a capital letter. ‘Jane’, ‘Africa’, and ‘New Year’ are proper nouns.



a noun

verbal noun


a noun that is formed from a verb and ends in ‘ing’, for exampleswimming’ in the sentenceSwimming is my favourite sport



in some languages, the form of a noun that is used for showing that a particular person or thing is being spoken to



a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play