The google definition of this word states that it is a noun however in its own example of usage it is used as an adjective: "a frail, milquetoast character". I haven't found any reliable sources to say that it can be used as an adjective so I'm wondering if it would actually be correct to use this word as an adjective.

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    You can use any word as an adjective, especially a noun. – RegDwigнt Jan 16 '14 at 16:07
  • Ugh, milquetoast is the worst kind of toast. – JSBձոգչ Jan 16 '14 at 16:12
  • You wouldn't say "he is milquetoast"; you would say "he is a milquetoast". I want to say this means it's not an adjective (but note that this test also fails for some attributive-only adjectives). – Peter Shor Jan 16 '14 at 16:16
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    As with nuisance, hacker, deadbeat, proof-of-concept, employee …, and so on, the answer is yes; essentially any noun can be used as an adjective in English, in which case it is called an attributive noun, noun adjunct, or noun adjective. – choster Jan 16 '14 at 16:17
  • Adjectives are not the only thing that can modify nouns! I do not understand where this notion came from that all noun modifiers are necessarily adjectives. They aren’t. For example, nouns themselves can and often do modify other nouns. Other thingamadoozles that can act as noun modifiers include determiners and prepositional phrases, with the man from Nantucket and three men in a boat each illustrating both. – tchrist Jan 16 '14 at 16:38

The term milquetoast is a noun

a person who is timid or submissive

In the example you give, it is still a noun, but it is used adjectivally, as many nouns can be.

I shut the barn door.

I wrote a computer program.

My kitchen floor is dirty.

These are sometimes called attributive nouns or noun adjuncts


Milquetoast can certainly be used to modify a noun. Similar construction occur all the time:
I have a lawn and I cut it with a lawn tractor. I have a TV. On top of my TV is a TV lamp. You can do this all day long.


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