Is there a term or classification for words (non-adjectives, for lack of a better classifier) that are combined with hyphens that serve the purpose of an adjective? For example, "run-of-the-mill applicant" or "less-than-ideal scenario." Are there any specific rules that dictate how these word groupings are handled?
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They are called compound adjectives. You will find an overview with some rules and examples on Wikipedia. Note that you should normally use hyphens ( - ), not dashes ( – or — ) in compound adjectives.