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 One day later, on Monday, firefighters in the same city used a combination of ropes, ladders and bacon to rescue a dog from yet another sinkhole, this one also about 40 feet deep. Tiffini Theisen,, "ATV-riding duo rescued after plunging into Florida sinkhole in the dark," 15 Sep. 2020 Our thoughts: Our panel really enjoyed the flavor combination in this sauce -- just the right amount of salt and cheeses. cleveland, "Ranking 24 Alfredo sauces from grocery stores in honor of National Linguine Day," 15 Sep. 2020 But the y value represents some combination of hassle, perceived or actual usefulness, regret, hope, etc. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Reason Not the Need," 15 Sep. 2020 Look for perforated, metal zipper pulls that accept small padlocks or sturdy latches with lock-hasp holes for securing with key or combination locks. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Rifle Case," 15 Sep. 2020 The front seven failed to consistently pressure quarterback Jared Goff and the secondary struggled to cover, which is a bad combination. Dallas News, "Grading the Cowboys: This Dallas team was built on offense, and the offense failed vs. Rams," 14 Sep. 2020 Poor play and poor sportsmanship is a bad combination. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins' grades and stock up, stock down at Patriots," 14 Sep. 2020 Ratings are based on a combination of total new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks and the percent change in new cases between the past seven days and the seven days before that. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Coronavirus in Wisconsin: Nearly 20% of tests are positive as state reports fewer tests than usual," 14 Sep. 2020 In early 2019, Jordan and a team of scientists from the United States and United Kingdom used a combination of aerial and ship-based surveys to gather radar, sonar and gravity measurements around Thwaites Glacier, per Science News. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Mapping Technology Reveals Channels of Warm Water Under Florida-Sized Glacier," 14 Sep. 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

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Combination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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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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