"poison ivy" / "poisonous ivy"

  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I see your point, Evernever. I guess it's because "Poison Ivy" is the proper name of the plant, rather than being an adjective + noun combination. Thus, "There are many poisonous plants in this region; poison ivy is only one of them"
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I don't see any logical reason for "poison" instead of "poisonous". In addition, capitalization is odd.

    Wiki has an article that uses: Poison oak, Poison-oak.

    MW shows only: poison ivy. I assume there is no capitalization for the other "poison things".

    I wonder if there is any rule here? We don't capitalize most diseases, and things that sting or poison are usually lower-case except for rare expressions such as Portuguese Man-o-War (Portuguese Man-of-War).
     

    comsci

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, Taiwan(Yankees 40 Wang)
    There are many instances where "noun" can well serve as "adjective" in English, you just need to know them as you get more acquainted with the language. Examples are "distance learning", "culture shock", "convenience store", "poison ivy", "trash chic"...so on, you name it. It doesn't necessarily need to be "adjective + noun" but "noun + noun" is just as good.

    As many of you have pointed out, you simply don't equate logic with language. :)
     

    MissFit

    Senior Member
    There are many instances where "noun" can well serve as "adjective" in English, you just need to know them as you get more acquainted with the language. Examples are "distance learning", "culture shock", "convenience store", "poison ivy", "trash chic"...
    The grammatical term for this type of word is adjectival noun. (If anyone cares.;) ) I've noticed that they seem to be used with increasing frequency.
     
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