Exocentric has a number of meanings.

In linguistics, it refers to phrases and compound words which are not the same part of speech as their constituents.

For example, in the sentence "I am in the doghouse", the phrase "in the doghouse" is an exocentric phrase, since it functions as an adjective (similar to the "tired" in "I am tired"), not as a preposition or noun, which is what its constituents "in" and "house" are. The word "shortcoming" is also exocentric, since it is a noun, but its two constituents are an adjective and a verb.

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