By which I mean changing a noun into an adjective by adding '-ed'. For example: the noun 'horn' becomes the adjective 'horned'

Is there a term for the type of adjective that is formed from a noun by adding '-ed'?

For comparison, when a verb becomes a noun by adding '-er' the noun becomes an 'agent noun' and the suffix is an 'agentive'

  • 1
    I'd go along with Miztli's answer: 'denominal adjective', the process being called 'adjectivalisation' (by affixation). I'd call a noun formed from a verb a 'deverbal noun', the process being called 'nominalisation'. As you say, the noun denotes a person filling the agent role with respect to the verb.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:24

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if there's a name for this specific case that's more general than "denominal adjective" but it might be called a "possessive denominal adjective". There is work on this out there, e.g. this abstract (p.2) by Ashwini Deo, Itamar Francez and Andrew Koontz-Garboden.


Compare horned beasts to crowned heads.

I'd call this a sort of indirect passive deverbal adjective . The -ed represents the past (passive) participle form of a verb which is represented by the same morpheme as the underlying noun. In effect, the noun N is recategorized as a verb, whether or not that verb is actually in current use, and its participle is employed in the passive sense "furnished with N".

I don't know a term for the thematic role here. Unless someone comes up with something better, I suggest praebitive, from praebere, "furnish, supply, provide".

  • I think this explanation is correct. "Horned" is the past participle of the verb "to horn", which is the deverbalisation of the noun "horn".
    – fdb
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 18:24

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