Spoilsport 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 spoilsport, its etymology, and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.

A spoilsport is someone who ruins others’ fun, someone who will not take part in an amusing activity or otherwise hinders another’s enjoyment of an activity. Spoilsport is a closed compound word that came into use as a hyphenated compound word in the 1700s. The word spoilsport comes from the word spoil, derived from the Latin word, spoliare, meaning to rob, and sport, from the Latin word, portare, meaning to carry. Note that the word spoilsport is sometimes seen rendered with a space, as in spoil sport, or with a hyphen, as in spoil-sport, but the Oxford English Dictionary lists the word spelled as a closed compound.


The Turkey of the Year Award for being a spoilsport on Jan. 6 goes to Mike Pence for hiding and disappointing Capitol tourists who built gallows in his honor. (South Bend Tribune)

Unless the new Omicron strain plays the spoilsport, this winter in Kolkata, always sweetened by the arrival of fresh date-palm jaggery, won’t be very different from those of the pre-COVID times. (The Hindu)

Cheating is ‘part of the amusing game of his life’ and a woman is a ‘spoilsport’ if she disapproves. (Daily Mail)

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