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Words on your mind – fun-filled

In this post (my second on ‘words on your mind’), I see that you have all been out having a great time without me again. You gave yourselves away by so many of you searching for the term fun-filled in Macmillan Dictionary recently. Fun-filled is a lovely compound adjective used to describe something that is great fun pretty much all the time, or that everything about it is fun, and it refers most commonly to an experience or an object, rather than a person. You might say, for instance, ‘We had a totally fun-filled time on holiday last week’, or ‘rounders is a fun-filled game for all the family’. You can also say fun-packed, eg ‘I had a totally fun-packed day getting to meet all my new colleagues’. Fun-packed can also be used ironically, like in this sentence:

Our night out was not exactly fun-packed, the fire-alarm went off at the pub and we all had to go and stand outside in the rain.

So I wish you all a fun-filled week and a fun-packed weekend when it comes and I don’t mean that ironically, honest!

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Beth Penfold


  • Would the adjective, fun-filled, be considered a participle since “filled” is the past tense form of a verb?

  • Hi. I’m not a grammarian so I stand ready to be corrected.
    Our definition for ‘participle’ says ‘the form of a verb used in compound tenses and as an adjective’; so in phrases like ‘filled rolls’ or ‘rented houses’ what you have is a participle acting as an adjective. I’d call ‘fun-filled’ an attributive adjective, one that is made up of a noun (fun) and the past participle of the verb fill (filled). I say attributive because I don’t think you say ‘the holiday was fun-filled’.
    As a lexicographer the interesting thing to me about fun-filled is how it likes to pair up with other hyphenated adjectives: you can see this very clearly by looking at a corpus. So you get fun-filled appearing alongside other combinations such as ‘action-packed’, ‘family-oriented’, ‘family-friendly’, ‘stress-free’, ‘fast-paced’, and ‘non-stop’. These adjective combinations are made up of a variety of word classes including nouns and adjectives as well as participles. When the modifying part (-free, -friendly, non-) combines very readily with other words we call it a prefix or a suffix. -filled probably doesn’t combine freely enough to be regarded as a suffix.

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