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 plural wore 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

Other Words from combination

combinational \ ˌkäm-​bə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce combination (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 Black people or people identifying as Black in combination with another race make up 8% of Multnomah County’s population, according to the most recent census data. oregonlive, 6 Jan. 2022 The reason: The top five in combination are selling at a PE that's grown enormously over the past three years. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2022 In combination with openness and curiosity, few things may matter more to the success of high achievers than internal motivation. Alison Escalante, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 According to David Lortscher, M.D., founder of Curology, using a dressing or patch in combination with a topical treatment, like benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or BHAs like salicylic acid, can intensify its effects. SELF, 30 Dec. 2021 In a subsequent email, Kadens said restaurant officials are looking at the trends and data in combination with ensuring employees can get a booster shot. Daniel I. Dorfman,, 30 Dec. 2021 Experts predict antiviral pills eventually could be used in combination to combat COVID-19, similar to HIV drugs. Matthew Perrone, ajc, 24 Dec. 2021 In recent weeks, two New York City museums received legacy-changing donations worth, in combination, about two and a half Beeples, or a hundred and seventy-five million dollars. Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker, 23 Dec. 2021 Covid-19 antivirals might eventually be used in combination with one another, to prevent the virus from developing resistance to one, scientists say. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, 20 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for combination

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near combination




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Statistics for combination

Last Updated

10 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Combination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on combination

Nglish: Translation of combination for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of combination for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about combination


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