compound

1 of 4

noun (1)

com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
1
: something formed by a union of elements or parts
especially : a distinct substance formed by chemical union of two or more ingredients in definite proportion by weight
a new antibiotic compound
2
a
: a word consisting of components that are words (such as rowboat, high school, devil-may-care)
b
: a word (such as anthropology, kilocycle, builder) consisting of any of various combinations of words, combining forms, or affixes

compound

2 of 4

verb

com·​pound käm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-ˈpau̇nd,
ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
compounded; compounding; compounds

transitive verb

1
a
: to pay (interest) on both the accrued interest and the principal
b
: to add to : augment
compound an error
… had several other medical complications that compounded his condition.Jeffrey S. Hollis
2
: to form by combining parts
compound a medicine
3
: to put together (parts) so as to form a whole : combine
compound ingredients
… a thick sauce compounded of chilies, garlic, and ginger.Andy Birsh
4
a
: to settle amicably : adjust by agreement
b
: to agree for a consideration not to prosecute (an offense)
compound a felony

intransitive verb

1
: to become joined in a compound
2
: to come to terms of agreement
compounded with the enemy for peace
compoundable
käm-ˈpau̇n-də-bəl How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-ˈpau̇n-
ˈkäm-ˌpau̇n-
adjective
compounder noun

compound

3 of 4

adjective

com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio) käm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-ˈpau̇nd
1
: composed of or resulting from union of separate elements, ingredients, or parts: such as
a
: having the blade divided to the midrib and forming two or more leaflets on a common axis
a compound leaf
b
: composed of united similar elements especially of a kind usually independent
a compound plant ovary
2
: involving or used in a combination
3
a
of a word : made by combining two or more words : constituting a compound (see compound entry 1 sense 2)
"Steamboat" is a compound noun.
b
of a sentence : having two or more main clauses

compound

4 of 4

noun (2)

com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
: a fenced or walled-in area containing a group of buildings and especially residences
a prison compound
an embassy compound

Examples of compound in a Sentence

Verb The interest is compounded at regular intervals. we compounded our error by waiting too long to call for help Adjective “Steamboat” is a compound noun. “I told him to leave and he left” is a compound sentence.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Experts warn that the problem could be compounded by the ongoing immigration crisis, with migrants catching wind of the laws and taking advantage of them. Emma Colton, Fox News, 4 Apr. 2024 The race for president solidified between Trump and President Joe Biden arguably months before Tuesday's presidential primary election — a departure from past presidential cycles that compounds voters' already low enthusiasm for a 2020 rematch. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 1 Apr. 2024 The problem is compounded because aid groups, especially the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, known as UNRWA, have had their movements restricted by Israel and their facilities and staff hit in the fighting. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 30 Mar. 2024 How Insurers Can Better Support Financial Stability Insurance is one tool that can help buffer against external factors that compound income uncertainty. Allison Arzeno, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Temperatures struggle to rise with brisk north winds compounding the discomfort. David Streit, Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2024 Smith’s setback was only compounded in the last week by tight end Luke Schoonmaker, a 2023 second-round pick out of Michigan as well who also also had a disappointing rookie season. Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 26 Mar. 2024 Rising sea levels are compounding problems with crumbling seawalls along the Tidal Basin that have settled as much as several feet since they were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the park service said on March 13. Jennifer Borresen, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2024 This compounds its popular image as being little more than a wheel in Israel’s occupation system. Raja Khalidi, Foreign Affairs, 19 Mar. 2024
Adjective
Between 2024 and 2034, our latest Global Fleet and MRO Market Forecast expects the number of commercial aircraft worldwide to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5%, reaching more than 36,400 aircraft by the start of 2034. Oliver Wyman, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 The government’s decision this month to roll back subsidies cut deep in a country where some 90 percent of people live in poverty, according to United Nations estimates, amid a compound confluence of crises: violence, hyperinflation, Western sanctions, weak institutions and rampant extortion. Sarah Dadouch, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2023 By comparison, the compound annual growth rate of the S&P 500 stock index is 10.5% over the past three years. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 15 Feb. 2024 The firm’s growth projections indicate that total APAC video industry revenues will expand at a compound average growth rate of 2.6% between 2023-28 to reach $165 billion by 2028. Patrick Frater, Variety, 3 Jan. 2024 Additionally, China is the world's largest EV market with a compound annual growth rate of 5% over the last decade. Jacob Wolinsky, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Hydrogen occurs naturally in compound form with other elements in liquids, gases or solids. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 18 Oct. 2023 Coca-Cola has since appreciated by close to 600%, or a compound annual rate of return of some 25%, but Berkshire has taken not a penny in profits and has sold not a single share. Matt Schifrin, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 This will have a compound annual growth rate of 73.3% over the 2023-2027 forecast period, according to IDC. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 25 Oct. 2023
Noun
This ensures that the oil retains its beneficial compounds, ultimately creating a more potent, efficacious oil. Michelle Rostamian, Peoplemag, 5 Apr. 2024 Meanwhile, the chemical compound itself settles into the body’s fat, lingering for days. Julia Michie Bruckner, Discover Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 Water samples collected hours after the collapse did not contain contaminants such as volatile organic compounds or lithium, Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Jay Apperson told USA TODAY Wednesday. Minnah Arshad, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 But fortunately, on the other side of the country, a nine-acre compound in Naples, Fla., is available for $295 million. Chris Morris, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2024 The masterminds rely on human trafficking victims to help facilitate the scams at compounds in Southeast Asia, prosecutors say. Aaron Katersky, ABC News, 4 Apr. 2024 Critics say that noise could disrupt marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, while plumes of sediment, potentially containing toxic compounds, kicked up by equipment on the seabed may disperse, harming midwater ecosystems, according to recent research. Katie Hunt, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 Israeli officials have disputed this account, however, saying in interviews that their intelligence suggests the compound was not in fact a civilian building but a Quds Force military headquarters in disguise. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 2 Apr. 2024 The 161-room Mitsui, opened in late 2020, sits across from Nijo Castle, an enormous 17th-century compound and a UNESCO World Heritage site. John Wogan, New York Times, 1 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'compound.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English compounen, from Anglo-French *cumpundre, from Latin componere, from com- + ponere to put — more at position

Adjective and Noun (1)

Middle English compouned, past participle of compounen — see compound entry 2

Noun (2)

by folk etymology from Malay kampung group of buildings, village

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1679, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of compound was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near compound

Cite this Entry

“Compound.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compound. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

compound

1 of 4 verb
com·​pound käm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
kəm-;
ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd
1
: to put together or be joined to form a whole : combine
2
: to form by combining parts
compound a medicine
3
: to settle or adjust by agreement
compound a debt
4
a
: to pay in the form of compound interest
interest compounded quarterly
b
: to add to
compounded our errors
compoundable adjective
compounder noun

compound

2 of 4 adjective
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
käm-ˈpau̇nd,
kəm-
1
: made of or by the union of separate elements or parts
a compound substance
2
: made up of two or more parts that are alike and form a common whole
a raspberry is a compound fruit
3
a
: being a word that is a compound
the compound noun "steamboat"
b
: consisting of two or more main clauses
"I told him to leave and he left" is a compound sentence

compound

3 of 4 noun
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
1
: a word consisting of parts that are words
"rowboat," "high school," and "light-year" are compounds
2
: something formed by a union of elements or parts
especially : a distinct substance formed by the union of two or more chemical elements in definite proportion by weight

compound

4 of 4 noun
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
: an enclosed area containing a group of buildings
Etymology

Verb

Middle English compounen "combine, compound," from early French compondre (same meaning), from Latin componere "compound, combine," from com- "with, together" and ponere "to place, put" — related to position

Noun

from a word in Malay, the language of the people of the Malay Peninsula, kampung "enclosure around a building"; both spelling and pronunciation influenced by the more familiar English word compound

Medical Definition

compound

1 of 3 transitive verb
: to form by combining parts
compound a medicine

compound

2 of 3 adjective
: composed of or resulting from union of separate elements, ingredients, or parts
a compound substance
compound glands

compound

3 of 3 noun
com·​pound ˈkäm-ˌpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
: something formed by a union of elements or parts
specifically : a distinct substance formed by chemical union of two or more ingredients in definite proportion by weight

Legal Definition

compound

transitive verb
com·​pound kəm-ˈpau̇nd How to pronounce compound (audio)
1
: to agree for a consideration not to prosecute (an offense)

Note: Compounding a felony is a common-law crime.

2
: to pay (interest) on both the accrued interest and the principal

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