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

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • email spam

    Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

  • distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

    A distributed denial-of-service attack occurs when an attack originates from multiple computers or devices, usually from multiple...

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

SearchHealthIT

  • athenahealth Inc.

    Based in Watertown, Mass., athenahealth Inc. is a leading vendor of cloud-based EHRs for small to medium-sized physician ...

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legislation passed in 2010 that changed how uninsured Americans enroll in and receive healthcare...

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

SearchStorage

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

  • Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta and all that

    Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta are among the list of prefixes used to denote the quantity of something, such as a byte ...

  • brontobyte

    A brontobyte is a measure of memory or data storage that is equal to 10 to the 27th power of bytes.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

  • NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

    An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close