Proteus Nomlex

Proteus Project

Department of Computer Science
New York University

Catherine Macleod, Ralph Grishman, Adam Meyers, Leslie Barrett and Ruth Reeves


NOMLEX (NOMinalization Lexicon) is a dictionary of English nominalizations developed by the Proteus Project at New York University under the direction of Catherine Macleod. NOMLEX seeks not only to describe the allowed complements for a nominalization, but also to relate the nominal complements to the arguments of the corresponding verb. The complements of the nominalization are described in terms of the COMLEX Syntax verb subcategorization patterns of its associated verb. See the COMLEX Syntax Manual for information on the verbal complements. We identify both the main verbal arguments (subject, direct object, and indirect object), which may map into a variety of nominal positions, and the oblique verbal complements, which map more directly into nominal complements. The argument correspondences are specified through a combination of explicit information in the lexical entries and general linguistic constraints on the correspondences. We have 1025 entries of several types of lexical nominalizations, including over 1000 distinct words. These words were selected from lists of frequently appearing nominalizations in our corpus (which includes Brown and the Wall Street Journal). There are multiple entries for  certain graphonyms. For example, "deduction" has two NOMLEX entries ("deduction1" and "deduction2"), one corresponding to the verb "deduct" and the other corresponding to the verb "deduce". We released the alpha version of NOMLEX on January 15, 1999, a small update to the alpha version (the Alpha 2 version) on March 12, 1999. Finally, the 2001 version was released on October 19, 2001.  The latter is downloadable from this website (see below) and freely available for use by all. We would appreciate feedback from this usage to

A sample entry follows:

(nom      :orth "promotion"
          :verb "promote"
          :verb-subj ((n-n-mod) (det-poss))
          :verb-subc ((nom-np :object ((det-poss)(n-n-mod)(pp-of)))
                      (nom-np-as-np :object ((det-poss) (pp-of)))
                      (nom-possing :nom-subc ((p-possing :pval ("of"))))
                      (nom-np-pp :object ((det-poss) (n-n-mod) (pp-of))
                                 :pval ("into" "from" "for" "to"))
                      (nom-np-pp-pp :object ((det-poss) (n-n-mod) (pp-of))
                                    :pval ("for" "into" "to") :pval2 ("from"))))

Many nominalization appear with support verbs: "launch an attack", "take a walk". We have designed a extended nominalization entry which captures information about these support verbs (Proteus Project Memorandum 02-005). We are now starting a project to annotate all the nominalizations in the Penn Tree Bank; this will allow us to extend and validate the entries in NOMLEX

Downloading NOMLEX

NOMLEX is available in two forms: This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IRI-9633286.


As part of the Nombank project, a semi-automatic version of NOMLEX was created with over 7000 entries (NOMLEX-PLUS) and several other NOMLEX-like dictionaries were created as well, e.g., ADJADV (which maps ADJECTIVES to corresponding adjectives). Details and downloads are available from the NomBank site.  Details are discussed in the LREC 2004 paper The Cross-Breeding of Dictionaries and the manual entitled, Those Other NomBank Dictionaries. This work postdates the Nomlex effort.


Adam Meyers, Catherine Macleod, Roman Yangarber, Ralph Grishman, Leslie Barrett, Ruth Reeves. Using NOMLEX to Produce Nominalization Patterns for Information Extraction. Coling-ACL98 workshop Proceedings: the Computational Treatment of Nominals Montreal, Canada, August, 1998.

Catherine Macleod, Ralph Grishman, Adam Meyers, Leslie Barrett, Ruth Reeves. NOMLEX: A Lexicon of Nominalizations. Proceedings of EURALEX'98, Liege, Belgium, August 1998.

Catherine Macleod, Adam Meyers, Ralph Grishman, Leslie Barrett, Ruth Reeves. Designing a Dictionary of Derived Nominals. Proceedings of Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing, Tzigov Chark, Bulgaria, September, 1997.