compact

1 of 4

adjective

com·​pact kəm-ˈpakt How to pronounce compact (audio)
käm-ˈpakt,
ˈkäm-ˌpakt
1
: predominantly formed or filled : composed, made
Miss Austen's novels are compact of delicate trivialities …Samuel Alexander
2
a
: having a dense structure or parts or units closely packed or joined
a compact woolen
compact bone
b
: not diffuse or verbose
a compact statement
c
: occupying a small volume by reason of efficient use of space
a compact camera
a compact formation of troops
d
: short-bodied, solid, and without excess flesh
He had a small, compact body that looked full of life.D. H. Lawrence
3
: being a topological space and especially a metric space with the property that for any collection of open sets which contains it there is a subset of the collection with a finite number of elements which also contains it
compactly
kəm-ˈpak(t)-lē How to pronounce compact (audio)
käm-ˈpak(t)-
ˈkäm-ˌpak(t)-
adverb
compactness
kəm-ˈpak(t)-nəs How to pronounce compact (audio)
käm-ˈpak(t)-
ˈkäm-ˌpak(t)-
noun

compact

2 of 4

verb

compacted; compacting; compacts

transitive verb

1
: to make up by connecting or combining : compose
2
a
: to knit or draw together : combine
b
: to press together : compress
compactible
kəm-ˈpak-tə-bəl How to pronounce compact (audio)
käm-ˈpak-
ˈkäm-ˌpak-
adjective
compactor noun
or less commonly compacter
kəm-ˈpak-tər How to pronounce compact (audio)
käm-ˈpak-,
ˈkäm-ˌpak-

compact

3 of 4

noun (1)

com·​pact ˈkäm-ˌpakt How to pronounce compact (audio)
: something that is compact or compacted:
a
: a small cosmetic case (as for compressed powder)
b
: an automobile smaller than an intermediate but larger than a subcompact

compact

4 of 4

noun (2)

com·​pact ˈkäm-ˌpakt How to pronounce compact (audio)
: an agreement or covenant between two or more parties

Examples of compact in a Sentence

Adjective The drill has a compact design. the apartment's compact floor plan The cabin was compact but perfectly adequate. He is compact and muscular. He has a compact body. Verb The snow had compacted into a hard icy layer. the media giant decided to compact all of its far-flung operations onto a single site Noun (2) a five-nation compact to control drug traffic the two made a compact never to artificially prolong the other's life in the event of incapacitating illness or injury
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Its compact footprint takes up minimal space — but don’t be fooled. Rebecca Martinson, Rolling Stone, 11 July 2024 Since the Johnson administration, it’s been the most sacred and reliable compact in rock ’n’ roll. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2024
Verb
The soil is compacted; there is no reliable watering system and no stormwater management. Kiersten Hacker, Baltimore Sun, 4 July 2024 And because the ice is stable, the thick annual layers can accumulate for centuries, compacting into ice. Bychristian Elliott, science.org, 18 Apr. 2024
Noun
The new compact would also expand health care access in the state’s rural communities and help meet the increasing demand of an aging population and shrinking labor pool. Christen Smith | The Center Square, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 6 July 2024 Since 1994, Palau has been covered by a compact of free association with the United States, making Washington responsible for its defense needs and allowing Palauans to serve in the US military. Brad Lendon, CNN, 30 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for compact 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'compact.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Verb

Middle English, firmly put together, from Latin compactus, from past participle of compingere to put together, from com- + pangere to fasten — more at pact

Noun (2)

Latin compactum, from neuter of compactus, past participle of compacisci to make an agreement, from com- + pacisci to contract — more at pact

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

1601, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1591, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of compact was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near compact

Cite this Entry

“Compact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compact. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

compact

1 of 4 adjective
com·​pact kəm-ˈpakt How to pronounce compact (audio)
ˈkäm-ˌpakt
1
: closely united or packed : solid, firm
2
: arranged so as to save space
a compact house
3
: not wordy : brief
compactly adverb
compactness
kəm-ˈpak(t)-nəs How to pronounce compact (audio)
ˈkäm-ˌpak(t)-
noun

compact

2 of 4 verb
1
: to draw together : combine, consolidate
2
: to make or become compact : compress
compactor noun
also compacter
kəm-ˈpak-tər How to pronounce compact (audio)
ˈkäm-ˌpak-

compact

3 of 4 noun
com·​pact ˈkäm-ˌpakt How to pronounce compact (audio)
1
: a small cosmetic case
2
: a somewhat small automobile

compact

4 of 4 noun
com·​pact ˈkäm-ˌpakt How to pronounce compact (audio)
Etymology

Adjective

Middle English compact "firmly put together," from Latin compactus (same meaning), from compingere "to join," from com- "together" and pangere "to fasten"

Noun

from Latin compactum "agreement," derived from compacisci "to make an agreement," from com- "with, together" and pacisci "to agree"

Medical Definition

compact

adjective
com·​pact kəm-ˈpakt How to pronounce compact (audio) käm-ˈ How to pronounce compact (audio)
ˈkäm-ˌ
: having a dense structure without small cavities or cells
compact bone
compare cancellous

More from Merriam-Webster on compact

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