com·​part·​men·​tal·​ize | \ kəm-ˌpärt-ˈmen-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce compartmentalize (audio) , ˌkäm- \
compartmentalized; compartmentalizing

Definition of compartmentalize

transitive verb

: to separate into isolated compartments or categories

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from compartmentalize

compartmentalization \ kəm-​ˌpärt-​ˌmen-​tə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce compartmentalization (audio) , ˌkäm-​ \ noun

Examples of compartmentalize in a Sentence

He compartmentalizes his life by keeping his job and his personal life separate. The company has compartmentalized its services.
Recent Examples on the Web So instead of trying to compartmentalize the discomfort, spread it out. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "How to talk to your family, friends about racism and white privilege," 6 July 2020 The lucky among us have been able to compartmentalize this disaster mindset, and enjoy occasional carefree risk-taking. Connie Wang,, "The Disaster Mindset Helped Asian-Americans Survive. But It’s A Losing Strategy," 29 May 2020 By compartmentalizing the legal issue presented by Schoolboy Q’s cancellation and dismissing Issa’s need for support, Molly did what lawyers do best: search for logic and ignore feelings. Amanda Gayle, Essence, "In Defense of Molly," 17 May 2020 Bouncing between conference calls and household chores can mean that work and domestic responsibilities are no longer compartmentalized. New York Times, "The Stresses of the Way We Work Now," 14 May 2020 Gore pushes forward, compartmentalizes his fears and stays focused on his patients. Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN, "He's an ER doctor. She owns a restaurant. They're expecting a baby and living apart to protect him.," 25 Apr. 2020 Denial, minimizing, and compartmentalizing are essential strategies for coping with a crisis. Wendy Dean, STAT, "Suicides of two health care workers hint at the Covid-19 mental health crisis to come," 30 Apr. 2020 Everyone knew the virus was spreading in China and compartmentalized it. Mike Ives, New York Times, "Your Tuesday Briefing," 17 Mar. 2020 Crossword puzzles are pristine, and space abounds yet is already compartmentalized, with no risk of a letter spilling into the next cell. Cosimo Bizzarri, New York Times, "Bringing order to chaos," 6 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compartmentalize.' 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 compartmentalize

1925, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compartmentalize

Time Traveler for compartmentalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of compartmentalize was in 1925

See more words from the same year

Statistics for compartmentalize

Last Updated

20 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compartmentalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for compartmentalize


How to pronounce compartmentalize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of compartmentalize

somewhat formal
: to separate (something) into sections or categories
: to separate (two or more things) from each other
: to put (something) in a place that is separate from other things

More from Merriam-Webster on compartmentalize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for compartmentalize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compartmentalize

Comments on compartmentalize

What made you want to look up compartmentalize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!