Definition of mass noun in English:

mass noun

Syllabification: mass noun

noun

Grammar
1A noun denoting something that cannot be counted (e.g., a substance or quality), in English usually a noun that lacks a plural in ordinary usage and is not used with the indefinite article, e.g., luggage, china, happiness. Contrasted with count noun.
More example sentences
  • When used in a generic sense, only mass nouns and plural count nouns are able to occur without a determiner or quantifier: Water is colourless, Groceries are expensive, Dogs make good companions, * Dog makes a good companion.
  • At the same time, their language does have a distinction between count and mass nouns, so that there is the equivalent of the English difference between " { many / * much foreigners } " and " { * many/much manioc meal’.
  • For example, Mandarin's usage of mass nouns predisposes its discourse to take a more holistic approach to the world than say, English, which demarcates objects more readily.
2A noun denoting something that normally cannot be counted but that may be countable when it refers to different units or types, e.g., coffee, bread (drank some coffee, ordered two coffees; ate some bread, several different breads).
More example sentences
  • In the last chapter I largely overlooked the conceptual differences between count and mass nouns.

Definition of mass noun in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day hubris
Pronunciation: ˈhjuːbrɪs
noun
excessive pride or self-confidence