noun, often attributive
com·​bi·​na·​tion | \ ˌkäm-bə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce combination (audio) \

Definition of combination

1a : a result or product of combining Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. especially : an alliance of individuals, corporations, or states united to achieve a social, political, or economic end
b : two or more persons working as a team Together they are a winning combination.
2 : an ordered sequence: such as
a : a sequence of letters or numbers chosen in setting a lock What is the combination to the safe? also : the mechanism operating or moved by the sequence
b : a rapid sequence of punches in boxing
c : any subset of a set considered without regard to order within the subset
3 : any of various one-piece undergarments for the upper and lower parts of the body usually used in pluralwore combinations in the winter to keep warm
4 : an instrument designed to perform two or more tasks The tool is a jackknife and bottle opener combination.
5a : the act or process of combining especially : that of uniting to form a chemical compound The combination of these two chemicals can cause an explosion.
b : the quality or state of being combined

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Other Words from combination

combinational \ ˌkäm-​bə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce combinational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of combination in a Sentence

Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The car's interior is available in various color combinations. A combination of factors led to her decision. The milkshakes come in chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla, or any combination of these. He has the right combination of talent and experience. The combination of these two chemicals can cause an explosion. What is the combination to the safe?
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Recent Examples on the Web Gone were the iso routes from spread-empty formations, and instead the Steelers employed route combinations that demanded timing-and-rhythm throws. Andy Benoit,, "Mason Rudolph Has the Tools, But Does He Have the Finesse?," 17 Sep. 2019 Flavor combinations often come in a duo aimed at two different audiences. John Kell, Fortune, "Is Spiked Kombucha the New Hard Seltzer?," 14 Sep. 2019 Players with the rare combination of her size and talent don’t come along very often. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Torreys junior determined to make most of her height," 16 Sep. 2019 Then, David Shultz writes forScience magazine, the researchers monitored the angry crabs with a combination of X-ray imaging and a vibration-sensing laser. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ghost Crabs Use Teeth in Their Stomachs to Ward Off Predators," 12 Sep. 2019 With job opportunities more limited during the recovery, many students were saddled with a combination of high student debt and relatively low wages. Benjy Sarlin, NBC News, "The student debt crisis and what Democratic candidates propose doing about it," 12 Sep. 2019 In Assam, the politics of citizenship, which is a toxic combination of Assamese sub-nationalism and Hindutva majoritarianism, brings to the fore how the limits on human rights put by modern nation-states and ideas of citizenship may be weaponised. Smitana Saikia, Quartz India, "Why is the Modi government so shrill about finding and deporting illegal immigrants?," 5 Sep. 2019 Oregon had the best schedule for a run at the CFP with the combination of the Auburn duel and two home games against second-level opponents. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Saturday Night Five: Oregon buckles in the fourth, USC tries to lose but fails, Washington rolls and injuries mount," 1 Sep. 2019 The Southern classic is finished with a combination of beef stock, water and butter that gives the dish extra oomph. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Market Lunch may be the only thing in town that brings both parties to the table," 28 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of combination

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for combination

see combine entry 1

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Statistics for combination

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for combination

The first known use of combination was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for combination


com·​bi·​na·​tion | \ ˌkäm-bə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce combination (audio) \

Kids Definition of combination

1 : a result or product of combining or being combined I succeeded by a combination of hard work and luck.
2 : a series of numbers or letters that is used to open a lock



Legal Definition of combination

1a : an alliance of individuals, states, or especially corporations united to achieve a common (as economic) end — see also combination in restraint of trade — compare joint venture sense 1, merger
2 : a union of old or new elements or parts that is patentable because it produces a new and useful result — compare aggregation sense 2, equivalent

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Comments on combination

What made you want to look up combination? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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