In this sentence "We do have free will," is "free-will" a compound noun? And if so, is "free" an adjective?

I'm talking about the theological concept of "free will". Which, in some cases, you read "free-will", always as a single term.

This is not a question about the meaning of this expression, but the grammar classification of the words that compounds it. Of course the meaning and the context need to be taken in consideration, but it can be known by the wikipedia article. But I'm asking the experts that know the meaning and it's common use, to help me classifying grammatically "free will", giving the classification of "free" and "will", within that context.

closed as off-topic by Mitch, user140086, NVZ, MetaEd, Phil Sweet Jun 28 '16 at 18:37

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  • Not a duplicate, but a related question When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word?. When did you see "free-will" under what context? Unless you specify it, it would not be easy to get an answer. – user140086 Dec 5 '15 at 17:46
  • "Free" means "unrestricted" or "uncontrolled", in the sense that a feral horse would roam "free". (And "free-will" would normally only be used when the term is used as an adjective, as in "free-will offering".) – Hot Licks Dec 5 '15 at 18:16
  • Hot Licks, i don't know if your comment is for me, but i'm not after the meaning of the expression, i know it. I'm asking for the grammar classification of it, taking, of course, the common use of the term in consideration. – Filipe Merker Dec 5 '15 at 18:40
  • 2
    "Free" is an adjective, applied to the noun "will". In keeping with normal rules, a hyphen is added if "free-will" is used as an adjective phrase vs a noun phrase. – Hot Licks Dec 5 '15 at 19:05
  • You could call free will a compound noun. But it's generally pronounced as an adjective+noun combination. (As determined by the position of the stress.) – Peter Shor Jun 27 '16 at 11:50

It's a simple adjective-noun phrase, grammatically equivalent to saying "We have red hair".

Free means "Unrestrained" and "will" means "choice" or "choices" in this context. There's really nothing more complicated than that.

It's equivalent to saying "We have unrestrained choices", ie "We can choose to do whatever we want." It's not a compound.

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