I came across the word "recyclables" in this site


When I looked it up in the dictionary, recyclable turns out to be an adjective but on the site above, the author used it as a noun.

I was taught that some adjectives with "the" preceding them can be used as a noun such as "the poor", "the rich" ... but "recyclable" used as a noun without "the". 

Can you explain this? Thank you.



Original Post


Thank you for citing your source.  This is extremely helpful.

I see this as an instance where the dictionaries necessarily lag behind commonly accepted speech, but that's OK.  This is how the language evolves over time.

Where I live, there is no doubt that "recyclables" is the commonly accepted term for "recyclable items" or "recyclable material".  We put the outright garbage in the brown bin and the recyclables in the blue bin.

Before I was even born, my mother would refer to certain laundry items as "machine-washables", but that doesn't seem to have made it into the dictionary yet.

Thank you for your question.


Last edited by Doc V

Very interesting. Another case of an adjective that made its appearance as a noun rather recently is "deliverable":


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Thank you very much for this input.  I hope you will see fit to make a reply on Kerry's thread "Closing out the effort?".

Best regards,


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