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

Keep scrolling for more

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?
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Lenacapavir does work in combination with current HIV antivirals, but none are as long-acting. Natalya Ortolano, STAT, "Experimental HIV drug seems effective at a twice-a-year dose, study finds," 1 July 2020 Bradley was considered one of the team’s best defenders, and will be replaced by a combination of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Smith and Danny Green. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Los Angeles Lakers begin process of finalizing deal with J.R. Smith," 29 June 2020 Her bail was raised by a combination of community groups that included the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Milwaukee Freedom Fund and Survived & Punished. Natallie St. Onge, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chrystul Kizer, charged with killing her suspected sex trafficker, released from jail after groups raise $400,000 bail," 22 June 2020 Among the drugs that will be tested in combination with remdesivir are baricitinib and tocilizumab, both of which tamp down inflammation caused by the human immune system. Peter Fimrite,, "Gilead to study inhalable form of remdisivir — a possible COVID-19 breakthrough," 22 June 2020 But, the years of studies done by a combination of three different consulting firms that began in January 2018 came to a halt in late March after the novel coronavirus caused a near-immediate cessation of many aspects of life in the community. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Firm completes report on Woodlands incorporation study for Township board," 19 June 2020 The expansion proposal was challenged by a combination of environmental and industry advocacy groups, some of which released statements condemning the decision as unnecessary. Dennis Pillion |, al, "Alabama Power $1.1 billion expansion approved, except solar projects," 17 June 2020 Torpor can be triggered by a combination of low temperatures and lack of food. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Neurons discovered that put mice in a hibernation-like state," 14 June 2020 Since a police pension is determined by a combination of salary and overtime, New Yorkers will be paying for these beatdowns for decades to come. Molly Crabapple, The New York Review of Books, "In New York, Protesters’ Pride Beats Police Brutality," 9 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of combination

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

History and Etymology for combination

see combine entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about combination

Time Traveler for combination

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for combination

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Combination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!