The article raises the question of the place of univerbes in the explanatory-derivational dictionary. Basing on the analysis of the semantics of word-composites and attributive phrases that produce them, the work proves the relevance of such derivatives as signifying signs. Relying on the principles of completeness and integrity of the explanatory-derivational families of words, the authors of the article justify the inclusion of the nested type of nouns created by way of unverbation in the explanatory dictionary. The article attempts to develop common methods for describing word-composites based on a motivating basis. It is shown how the derivational connections can clarify the regular relations in the vocabulary, distinguish externally similar linguistic phenomena.