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Colorful Combinations

Part 2: Examples of Compound Words in Spanish


Umbrella forest

Bosque de paraguas en Bilbao, España. (Umbrella forest in Bilbao, Spain.)

Photo by Lorena a.k.a. Loretahur; licensed via Creative Commons.

abrecartas — letter opener
abrelatas — can opener
apagavelas — candle snuffer
buscapiés — firecracker (it looks for feet)
calientalibros — bookworm (he/she warms books)
calientamanos — handwarmer
calientapiés — footwarmer
calientaplatos — dish warmer
cascanueces — nutcracker
comecocos — something that confuses or brainwashes (it eats coconuts)
cortacuitos — circuit breaker
cortalápices — pencil sharpener (it cuts pencils)
cortapapel — paper knife (it cuts paper)
cortaplumas — penknife (it cuts feathers)
cortapuros — cigar cutter
cuentagotas — medicine dropper (it counts drops)
cuentakilómetros — speedometer, odometer (it counts kilometers)
cuentapasos — pedometer (it counts steps)
cuentarrevoluciones, cuentavueltas — counting machine (it counts revolutions)
cuidaniños — babysitter (he/she cares for children)
cumpleaños — birthday (it fulfills years)
dragaminas — minesweeper (it dredges mines)
elevalunas — window opener
escarbadientes — toothpick (it scratches teeth)
escurreplatos — dish rack (it drains dishes)
espantapájaros — scarecrow (it scares birds)
guardarropas — clothes closet (it keeps clothing)
lanzacohetes — rocket launcher
lanzallamas — flame thrower
lanzamisiles — missile launcher
lavadedos — fingerbowl (it cleans fingers)
lavamanos — bathroom sink (it washes hands)
lavaplatos, lavavajillas — dishwasher
limpiabarros — scraper (it cleans mud)
limpiabotas — shoeshine (he/she cleans boots)
limpiachimeneas — chimneysweep (he/she cleans chimneys)
limpiacristales — window cleaner
limpiametales — metal polish (it cleans metal)
limpiaparabrisas — windshield wiper (it cleans windshields)
limpiapipas — pipe cleaner
limpiauñas — fingernail cleaner
a matacaballo — at breakneck speed (in a way that it kills the horse)
matafuegos — fire extinguisher (it kills fires)
matamoscas — fly swatter (it kills flies)
matarratas — rat poison (it kills rats)
matasanos — medical quack (he/she kills healthy people)
matasellos — postmark (it kills stamps)
pagaimpuestos — taxpayer
parabrisas — windshield (it stops breezes)
paracaídas — parachute (it stops falls)
parachoques — bumper (it stops crashes)
paraguas — umbrella (it stops water)
pararrayos — lightning rod (it stops lightning)
parasol — sunshade (it stops sun)
pesacartas — letter scale (it weighs letters)
pesapersonas — scale for people (it weighs people)
picaflor — hummingbird, lady-killer (he/she pecks flowers)
picapleitos — shyster lawyer (he/she encourages lawsuits)
pintamonas — bad painter, an incompetent person (he/she paints copycats)
portaaviones — aircraft carrier (it carries aircraft)
portacartas — letter bag (it carries letters)
portamonedas — purse, handbag (it carries coins)
portanuevas — one who brings news
portaplumas — pen holder
a quemarropa — at point-blank range (in a way that burns clothing)
quitaesmalte — enamel or nail polish remover
quitamanchas — dry cleaner, stain remover (it removes stains)
quitamotas — flatterer (he/she removes defects)
quitanieve, quitanieves — snowplow (it removes snow)
quitapesares — consolation (it takes away sorrow)
quitasol — sunshade (it removes the sun)
quitasueños — anxiety (it takes away sleep)
rascacielos — skyscraper
a regañadientes — unwillingly (in a manner that causes the snarling of teeth)
rompecabezas — puzzle (it breaks heads)
rompeimágenes — iconoclast (he/she breaks icons)
rompeolas — jetty (it breaks waves)
sabelotodo — know-it-all (he/she knows it all)
sacabocados — punch tool (it takes out bites)
sacaclavos — nail remover
sacacorchos — corkscrew (it pulls out corks)
sacadineros — trinket, small scam (it takes money)
sacamanchas — dry cleaner (it takes away stains)
sacamuelas — dentist, quack (he/she pulls teeth)
sacapotras — medical quack (he/she removes hernias)
sacapuntas — pencil sharpener (it sharpens points)
saltamontes — grasshopper (it jumps hills)
salvavidas — various safety devices (it saves lives)
secafirmas — blotting pad (it dries signatures)
tientaparedes — one who gropes his/her way (he/she feels walls)
tirabotas — boot hook (it stretches boots)
tiralíneas — drawing pen (it draws lines)
tocacasetes — cassette player
tocadiscos — record player
trabalenguas — tongue twister (it ties tongues)
tragahombres — bully (he/she swallows men)
tragaleguas — long-distance or fast runner (he/she swallows leagues; a league is a little-used measurement of distance, equal to about 5.6 kilometers)
tragaluz — skylight (it swallows light)
tragamonedas, tragaperras — slot machine, vending machine (it swallows coins)

More: More compound words — and if you'd like, you can add a favorite of your own, can be found in the blog post about compounds words.

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