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

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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

But climate change is a borderless issue, one that cannot be compartmentalized by lines drawn to distinguish state boundaries and section off land parcels for lease sales. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "Activists Protest Bureau of Land Management Leasing That Allow Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands," 15 Apr. 2019 Being able to compartmentalize is key, Rogers says. Tamara E. Holmes, USA TODAY, "For these moms, side-hustle juggling balances out work, life and budget," 14 June 2018 What Cindy does best is compartmentalizing her pain and her grief. Candice Frederick, Teen Vogue, ""Orange Is the New Black" Star Adrienne C. Moore on Cindy’s Ultimate Betrayal," 25 Aug. 2018 Or possibly voters do in fact compartmentalize outlier events. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "A Referendum on Trump," 31 Oct. 2018 Baseball demands this type of compartmentalization, and Perez has had more than most to compartmentalize. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Salvador Perez and life after the splash: 'It's going to be hard for us' | The Kansas City Star," 7 Mar. 2018 David shut down emotionally in response to his wife's death, compartmentalizing his memories to the point of forgetting her birthday, and hiding any videos that might spark painful memories from his computer’s search results. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The emotional thriller Searching proves good computer-screen movies aren’t a fluke," 22 Jan. 2018 But these voices are compartmentalized in the usual fashion of contemporary museum design, which tends to an a la carte approach to history. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 Britain typically uses a passive approach to fire response, in which firefighters try to compartmentalize a blaze, while residents stay in their apartments, usually fitted with doors and materials that protect them from smoke and fire outside. Angela Dewan, CNN, "Grenfell fire: London police investigating fire brigade's 'stay put' advice," 7 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of compartmentalize

1925, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for compartmentalize

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for compartmentalize

The first known use of compartmentalize was in 1925

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More Definitions for compartmentalize



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with compartmentalize

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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).


a tendency to relapse

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