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
All of these changes are compounded by each person’s asymmetries and unique movement patterns, the effects of which add up over time. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 14 Feb. 2024 This reluctance is compounded by healthcare providers' often dismissive attitudes towards women’s reports of heavy menstrual bleeding, leaving many women to suffer in silence and without adequate care. Brittany Barreto, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 The issue was compounded by the fact that Cuzzo retired in October, leaving the North Shore without a regular judge until Steve Hanke took the bench in December. Tom Olsen, Twin Cities, 13 Feb. 2024 The crisis is compounded by the inability of the territory’s largest employer, the Palestinian Authority, to pay full salaries. Julia Frankel, Quartz, 11 Feb. 2024 The meltdown of the office sector in the Bay Area has been compounded by wobbly capital markets for the construction and financing of commercial properties. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 8 Feb. 2024 But this only compounded my conflicting emotions of shame and fear. TIME, 6 Feb. 2024 Such relationship milestones compound with implausible speed. Inkoo Kang, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 Compost also can be spread on top of the soil and used as mulch, which compounds the confusion. Dan Vierria, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024
Adjective
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 It’s now projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent from 2022 to 2030, with the hard adventure segment representing a significant revenue share of more than 20 percent. Sharael Kolberg, Robb Report, 6 Oct. 2023 In an investor slide deck accompanying the filing, Disney said revenue in the Parks, Experiences and Products business hit $32.3 billion for the 12 months ended July 1, 2023, representing a compound annual growth rate of 6% since fiscal year 2017. Todd Spangler, Variety, 19 Sep. 2023
Noun
The compound is usually filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys, so high levels of creatinine are an immediate red flag for kidney issues. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2024 The slide erased the greenery that until recently backed up to Bruggeman’s home, a 9,700-square-foot compound estimated to be worth nearly $16 million, leaving only sandy soil behind. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 The expansive property is ideal for families seeking a multi-generational legacy compound or for friends who would like to purchase homes together. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2024 There’s a stuck dust cover on an important instrument that helps the rover search for organic compounds. Amanda Kooser, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Or buy out the island The compound is surrounded by a white picket fence, as if this were just another slice of residential Americana. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 Phytochemicals are powerful plant compounds that can help to prevent oxidative damage to the cells. Ana Morales, Vogue, 10 Feb. 2024 Photographed here with a drone at sunrise, the lake bed gets its pinkish color from microalgae that produce pink compounds called carotenoids as a stress response in briny environments. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 8 Feb. 2024 Congregated around the tree’s top, more than 250 lengthy, compound leaves extended from 2.5-foot branches. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

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 29 Feb. 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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