This paper presents an approach for the formal representation of components in German compounds. We assume that such a formal representation will support the segmentation and analysis of unseen compounds that feature components already seen in other compounds. An extensive language resource that explicitly codes components of compounds is GermaNet, a lexical semantic network for German. We summarize the GermaNet approach to the description of compounds, discussing some of its shortcomings. Our proposed extension of this representation builds on the lemon lexicon model for ontologies, established by the W3C Ontology Lexicon Community Group.