Chapstick is a closed compound word. A compound word is a word derived from two or more separate words used together to create another word. Compound words are new words that have a different meaning than the definitions of the original words. Compound words are usually composed of two nouns, or an adjective and a noun. New compound words usually consist of two or more separate words, and are called open compound words. Midway through their evolution, compound words may acquire hyphens between the two or more words. A hyphenated compound word is a compound that is composed of two or more words linked by hyphens. Hyphenated compound words are the most likely type of compound words to be composed of two adjectives or two verbs. Hyphenated compound words are often coined by writers, as J.K. Rowling did when she created the phrase He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to describe Lord Voldemort. In general, hyphenated compound words are midway on the journey between being rendered as separate words to being rendered as one word. When a compound becomes a closed compound word, which consists of two or more words joined without any hyphen or space, it has usually been in use for a long time. The advent of the internet has sped up the process of becoming a closed compound word. Understanding words that are compound words will expand one’s basic English vocabulary. We will examine the meaning of the word chapstick, its etymology, and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.

Chapstick is a balm for the lips packaged in a cylindrical tube. Chapstick is used for dry or irritated lips resulting from cold weather, sun exposure, illness, or other causes. The generic word, chapstick, was derived from a trademarked lip balm brand that was first marketed in 1880, ChapStick. ChapStick was invented by Charles Browne Fleet, a pharmacist who lived in Lynchburg, Virginia. In the 1910s, John Morton bought the rights to the product and his wife, Mrs. Morton, invented a push-up tube to apply the product. Today, when referring to the specific brand, use the capitalized version: ChapStick. If one is simply referring to any lip balm, use the lowercase version, chapstick. The term has become so ubiquitous, the lowercase version, chapstick, was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2021.


“Dad just asked for chapstick and mom gave him lipstick.” (People)

“It’s used so their lips don’t dry out, but as far as chapstick goes, I’ve never put it on a body, but if someone wanted me to, I probably would.” (Daily Express)

Friends, family, coaches, a sports psychologist, and a number of professional sponsors, including ChapStick—Stockwell is a brand ambassador as an extension of the brand’s support for military and first responders—have helped reassure the Chicago native to have faith, especially when faced with difficult circumstances, she says. (Self Magazine)

You can’t go wrong with this tried-and-true classic: ChapStick’s SPF 15 lip balm leaves your skin soft, moisturized, and totally protected from the sun. (Cosmopolitan Magazine)

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