Three-word compound

Are there any three-word compounds in English? I’ve thought of nonetheless and nevertheless but can’t think of any others. English makes compounds, but it seems to be generally limited to just two words. Not like German, which has no problem running together 3, 4, or more words.

Note: the compounds have to be run together without internal hyphens or spaces. So, for example, whip-poor-will is right out.

Heretofore? Inasmuch? Insomuch?

Yes, I figured there’d be some more phrases run together. Insofar is another that I ran across just now. How about any that are three nouns run together? Or noun(s) and adjective(s)? Any of those?


That’s a word?

If you’re not sure, ask an outdoorsman.

Highwayman? I’m sure there are other words ending in -man or -person that would be similar.

EDIT: Ah, I see I was anticipated with “outdoorsman”.

Your question/your rules, but FTR, compounds typically evolve from open (“web server”) to hyphenated (“web-server”) to closed (“webserver”), so that restriction is a bit artificial.

Notwithstanding? (Depends on if you count “withstand” as a compound or not.)



How about parts of words, as in “turducken”?


English generally only writes long established compound nouns with neither hyphen or space. So three-word compounds written as one word are relatively rare, since they require either a long established three word phrase, or a long established compound where one of the words is a previously established two-words-written-as-one compound.

But as already shown with examples, they do exist.

Yes, it’s a fictitious creature that’s half man, half bear, and half pig.

“wilderness” from “wild-deer-ness”. But this compound was formed in Middle English rather than Modern English. “wild” had the same sense as now. “deer” was a general word for animal (which is a French import). “ness” meant a location (and not the suffix “-ness”).


Yes, I’m aware of this, although there are numerous examples of two-word compounds going immediately to closed form. But except for phrases, nonce words (which I’m not counting), and trademarks (also ignored), I don’t think there’s any three-word compounds that have gone from completely open to completely closed in one step. Hence my question.

So far, the few examples given all seem to have taken two or more steps.

Because the internet has everything -

Some not mentioned in the thread so far - counterclockwise, whatsoever, nowadays plus a few more or less archaic versions. There’s also a thread on Quora.


For what it’s worth, I’m familiar with the bird and have seen it’s name written many times. This is the first time I’ve seen it hyphenated. The hyphenated form appears to be an accepted variant, but not necessarily the one true form.

Not tryna pick a fight, but what does that have to do with your original question?