com·​pat·​i·​ble | \kəm-ˈpa-tə-bəl \

Definition of compatible 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : capable of existing together in harmony compatible theories compatible people

2 : capable of cross-fertilizing freely or uniting vegetatively

3 : capable of forming a homogeneous mixture that neither separates nor is altered by chemical interaction

4 : capable of being used in transfusion or grafting without reaction (such as agglutination or tissue rejection)

5 : designed to work with another device or system without modification The printer is compatible with most computers. especially : being a computer designed to operate in the same manner and use the same software as another computer


plural compatibles

Definition of compatible (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device (such as a computer) or system designed to be used with another device or system without modification This game is available on disk as well as in a full-voiced CD edition for PCs and compatibles.— Scott A. May

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Other Words from compatible


compatibility \kəm-​ˌpa-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
compatibleness \kəm-​ˈpa-​tə-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
compatibly \kəm-​ˈpa-​tə-​blē \ adverb

Examples of compatible in a Sentence


two people with compatible personalities This printer is compatible with most PCs.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

These MultiVolt batteries are also backwards compatible with Hitachi's 18V line giving you a battery rated at 8.0Ah. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Go Corded or Cordless with Metabo HPT MultiVolt Power Tools," 19 Oct. 2018 Centuries earlier the Jesuit Matteo Ricci sought to express Christian truth in a way compatible with Chinese culture, mastering the language, adopting the Chinese style of dress, and striving to show respect for Chinese thought and classics. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "China’s Worst Western Import," 24 Sep. 2018 Officials say all CPUs are drop-in compatible with existing X399 motherboards, which also all support BIOS updates without the need for an older CPU. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's 32-core Threadripper dares Intel to match it on cores and price," 6 Aug. 2018 Staff also deemed the addition’s architecture not compatible with the historic style of the original 120-year-old library. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Demolition preparations underway for old Nichols Library addition," 11 Apr. 2018 But the Italian component, equally important, involves making that vision compatible with a way of life inherited and preserved over generations. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Cute Robot That Follows You Around the City," 28 Feb. 2018 Apple also noted on its support page that iCloud for Windows was compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 through Windows 10’s April 2018 update, excluding the latest October Update. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Apple fixes iCloud to work better with Windows 10 October Update," 27 Nov. 2018 Two years ago Dewalt introduced their Flexvolt 60V/20V line of cordless power tools, with batteries that were backwards compatible with their popular 20V MAX tool platform. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Go Corded or Cordless with Metabo HPT MultiVolt Power Tools," 19 Oct. 2018 Instead, thanks to a paired kidney exchange program, Vinson was able to trade his kidney with a donor who was compatible. Lyndsay Winkley,, "SDPD officer gets second shot at long-awaited kidney transplant," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Each zip file contains a vector EPS (Adobe Illustrator version 8+ compatible) and some artists will also include PDF and AI files as well. Jenny Knizner, USA TODAY, "11 Free Marketing Resources for Freelancers," 16 Apr. 2018 Microsoft is also warning, again, that all Windows updates now require the use of a compatible, up-to-date anti-virus program. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Intel’s latest set of Spectre microcode fixes is coming to a Windows update," 1 Mar. 2018 All are also equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, and are Apple CarPlay compatible. Charles Fleming,, "Honda's new Gold Wing: Lighter, leaner, more powerful," 24 Oct. 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1972, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compatible


Middle English, from Medieval Latin compatibilis, literally, sympathetic, from Late Latin compati

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Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for compatible

The first known use of compatible was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for compatible


com·​pat·​i·​ble | \kəm-ˈpa-tə-bəl \

Kids Definition of compatible

: capable of existing together in harmony


com·​pat·​i·​ble | \kəm-ˈpat-ə-bəl \

Medical Definition of compatible 

1 : capable of existing together in a satisfactory relationship (as marriage)

2 : capable of being used in transfusion or grafting without immunological reaction (as agglutination or tissue rejection) treatment of hemophilia by transfusion of compatible blood

3 of medications : capable of being administered jointly without interacting to produce deleterious effects or impairing their respective actions

Other Words from compatible

compatibility \-​ˌpat-​ə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē \ noun, plural -ties

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having a pattern of small flowers

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