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Windfall

  • Windfall 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 windfall, its etymology, and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.

     

    A windfall is an unexpected bit of luck or an unforeseen advantage. A windfall is a benefit that comes to you unearned and unanticipated. The compound word, windfall, came into use in the 1400s and once had a very literal meaning: fruit or wood that fell out of a tree because of the blowing wind. At that time, any fruit or wood that fell from a tree was available to whomever would pick it up; the fruit still hanging from the tree belonged to the owner of the tree. By the mid-1500s, the word windfall had taken on its figurative meaning. The plural of windfall is windfalls.

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    Examples

    Receiving an unexpected financial windfall such as a surprise raise or bonus is exciting—and can be fraught with temptation. (Forbes)

    There is no revenue sharing in blocks falling in Category II and III Basins except in the case of windfall gains. (The Hindu)

    Arkansas lawmakers see the largest state budget surplus in history as more of a one-time windfall than the beginning of a trend, a number of them said. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette)


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