Browse Definitions:
Definition

noun

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A noun is a word used to identify an entity, a place, a thing or a concept; respectively, for example, Grace Hopper, Silicon Valley, a smartphone and synchronicity.

Nouns may be either single words or compounds made of two or more nouns, like football, or an adjective followed by a noun, like emotional intelligence. Compound nouns may be spelled as two words, hyphenated or combined as a single word. As long as they refer to a single thing, the words are considered a compound noun. 

There are quite a few subcategories of nouns but they all fall into one of two main categories: proper nouns and common nouns. Proper nouns are official names for specific entities, places, things and concepts, which are identified as such through capitalization. Days of the week, months, place names, people’s names, official holidays and company names are among the many examples of proper nouns (which are sometimes broken down into proper nouns and proper names).

Concrete nouns identify things that have some kind of physical presence or impact that are usually detectable through one of the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste. However, some things that humans can’t detect – carbon monoxide, for example, or a sound pitched beyond the human range of hearing, like ultrasound or (for adults) the mosquito teen repeller – are still considered concrete because they have physical presence.

Abstract nouns identify things without a physical presence, such as emotions, concepts, qualities and experiences, among other things. A few somewhat random examples include blue, bliss, love, privacy, compatibility, Cyber Monday, anthropomorphism and quantum theory.

Countable nouns are things that are identifiable as discrete units, like beans; mass nouns, on the other hand refer to things that can’t be counted, like bean dip. Pronouns are also considered a type of noun, although they are words that substitute for nouns. She, for example, is a pronoun that could be used to refer to Grace Hopper, once it had been established that was the person we were talking about. 

Depending on how they are used, nouns and other parts of speech often change from one to another. Gerunds, for example are nouns that are formed from verbs with the addition of the ing prefix. In the sentence, Tweeting is an important part of my job, tweeting is a gerund. However, in another sentence, such as I was tweeting about gerunds, tweeting is a different part of speech known as a present participle. 

This was last updated in May 2014

Continue Reading About noun

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close