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 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 Biden, however, managed to turn things around with a combination of luck and tenacity. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: How Joe Biden proved me wrong," 16 Jan. 2021 All the fun of a campout…but with indoor plumbing. Choose your filling combination. Kate Merker, Good Housekeeping, "Indoor S'mores," 13 Jan. 2021 Kelce broke George Kittle’s 2018 single-season receiving record for tight ends by dominating the middle of the field and beating man coverage with his unicorn combination of size and speed. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Can the Browns’ defense slow down Patrick Mahomes? The problems Cleveland faces in the AFC divisional round -- Film Review," 13 Jan. 2021 The veteran point guard powers the 106-100 win with a combination of hot shooting and deft playmaking for teammates. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Mike Conley’s green light is now a ‘green sun’ after 33-point performance in Utah Jazz’s defeat of Clippers," 1 Jan. 2021 The Newnan native always endeared with his combination of aw-shucks grins and warm twang of a voice. Melissa Ruggieri, ajc, "15 of the best albums to come out of Georgia," 31 Dec. 2020 The country has largely stamped out the coronavirus with a combination of restrictions on foreign arrivals, mass testing and tight lockdowns of neighborhoods whenever any cases are detected. New York Times, "China Approves Covid-19 Vaccine as It Moves to Inoculate Millions," 30 Dec. 2020 But a follow-up paper published last week in Nature yields a different picture with its combination of genetic analysis with decades of archaeological research. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Did Columbus find early Caribs in 15th century Caribbean? Jury is still out," 29 Dec. 2020 As the Bears reported for training camp in Lake Forest in August, charging into an unusual year with the usual combination of hope and energy, no one really knew how anything would go. Dan Wiederer,, "We had 101 pressing questions for the Chicago Bears at the start of the season. Now, here are the 101 answers.," 29 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for combination

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Combination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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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

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