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

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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 Commit to hike, walk, skip, hop, dance, jog, cycle, roll, paddle or bike – or any combination of activities – the choice is yours! Sandra Macgregor, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 Ma, who trains at the Skating Club of Boston, continued his stellar early season, landing a high and airy quadruple toe loop-triple toe loop combination., 16 Sep. 2021 Authorities said the blend of cedar and mountain hemlock pollen, identified by a scientist with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, was a combination only found at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston or the New York Botanical Garden. Mckenna Oxenden,, 15 Sep. 2021 And that combination gave me a level of intimacy and distance that has really served me well in my life. Rich Brownstein,, 14 Sep. 2021 Will Tucker trot out a new combination Saturday against Miami? Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 14 Sep. 2021 Squirting out of a tight exit into another switchback, a combination of generous throttle and steering lock gets the rear steering and eLSD to snap the back around. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, 14 Sep. 2021 Options include regular sausage, mozzarella cheese and a sausage, cheese and potato combination. Kathy Stephenson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Sep. 2021 This combination of photos provided by the North Korean government on Monday shows long-range cruise missiles tests held on Sept. 11-12, 2021, at an undisclosed location in North Korea. NBC News, 13 Sep. 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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Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Combination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 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

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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