comprise

verb
com·​prise | \ kəm-ˈprīz How to pronounce comprise (audio) \
comprised; comprising

Definition of comprise

transitive verb

1 : to be made up of The factory was to be a vast installation, comprising fifty buildings.— Jane Jacobs The play comprises three acts.
2 : compose, constitute … a misconception as to what comprises a literary generation.— William Styron … about 8 percent of our military forces are comprised of women.— Jimmy Carter
3 : to include especially within a particular scope … civilization as Lenin used the term would then certainly have comprised the changes that are now associated in our minds with "developed" rather than "developing" states.The Times Literary Supplement (London)

Synonyms for comprise

Synonyms

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Comprise vs. Compose: Usage Guide

Although it has been in use since the late 18th century, sense 2 is still attacked as wrong. Why it has been singled out is not clear, but until comparatively recent times it was found chiefly in scientific or technical writing rather than belles lettres. Our current evidence shows a slight shift in usage: sense 2 is somewhat more frequent in recent literary use than the earlier senses. You should be aware, however, that if you use sense 2 you may be subject to criticism for doing so, and you may want to choose a safer synonym such as compose or make up.

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Comprise has undergone a substantial shift in usage since first appearing in English in the 15th century. For many years, grammarians insisted that the usage of comprise meaning "to be made up of," as in phrases like "a team comprising nine players," was correct, and that comprise meaning "to make up," as in phrases like "the nine players who comprise the team," was not. This disputed use is most common in the passive construction "to be comprised of," as in "a team comprised of nine players." Until relatively recently, this less-favored sense appeared mostly in scientific writing, but current evidence shows that it is now somewhat more common in general use than the word's other meanings.

Examples of comprise in a Sentence

Each army division comprised 4,500 troops. The play comprises three acts.
Recent Examples on the Web In Mississippi, people of color comprise 44% of the population but 81% of women receiving abortions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health statistics. Emily Wagster Pettus And Leah Willingham, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 May 2022 In Mississippi, people of color comprise 44% of the population but 81% of women receiving abortions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health statistics. Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2022 In 2018, the Census Bureau projected that in 2060, Hispanic people will comprise 27.5% of the total population, with 111 million Hispanic individuals residing in the United States. CNN, 11 Mar. 2022 Native people from around the world comprise the board of directors. Abby Levene, Outside Online, 29 Jan. 2022 Today, Black people comprise 3.5 percent of Canada’s population, and in more recent years there have been about two dozen Black players in the NHL. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Jan. 2022 Earlier Black people comprise only a small percentage of those profiting from the burgeoning legalized pot market, according to state data. Carol Ryan, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2021 Between 12 and 15 people comprise the snow-removal team. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 3 Dec. 2021 People comprise your target audience, not personas. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comprise.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of comprise

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for comprise

Middle English, from Anglo-French compris, past participle of comprendre, from Latin comprehendere — see comprehend

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Time Traveler for comprise

Time Traveler

The first known use of comprise was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near comprise

comprisal

comprise

comprised of

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Statistics for comprise

Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Comprise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comprise. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for comprise

comprise

verb
com·​prise | \ kəm-ˈprīz How to pronounce comprise (audio) \
comprised; comprising

Kids Definition of comprise

1 : to be made up of : consist of The play comprises three acts.
2 : form entry 2 sense 3 Nine players comprise a baseball team.

More from Merriam-Webster on comprise

Nglish: Translation of comprise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of comprise for Arabic Speakers

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