Is there an origin difference or English reason why "living room" is two words, but "bedroom" is only one?

  • Open compounds resist solidification when the resulting single orthographic word would lead to a garden-path situation (there are grooms, but no drooms). Apr 2, 2018 at 1:18
  • bedroom, bathroom, storeroom but living room, dining room, reading room.
    – Kris
    Apr 2, 2018 at 8:03
  • 1
    Both of them are really one word. The space between living and room is present only in writing; it's an artifact of the history of printing and has nothing to do with the English language. Sep 3, 2020 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


"Living room" has been in the language a while; the OED's first quote for it is from 1787. I think it hasn't become a compound word due to "living" ending in "ing". Words that end in "ing" seem to only very rarely form the first part of closed compound words.

Looking at the OED, there are over a hundred entries listed that end in "ing room" or "ing-room" but none that end in "ingroom". (If you have access to the OED, you can see this by searching for *ingroom.) The same thing can be seen if you search for living*, to find all the entries that start with "living". There are very few entries that were a single word (none of which were compound words, as far as I saw). Most entries had a space and one had a hyphen ("living-in", which as an adjective is different).


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