com·pose | \kəm-ˈpōz \
composed; composing

Definition of compose 

transitive verb

1a : to form by putting together : fashion a committee composed of three representativesCurrent Biography

b : to form the substance of : constitute composed of many ingredients

c : to produce (columns, pages of type, etc.) by composition

2a : to create by mental or artistic labor : produce compose a sonnet

b(1) : to formulate and write (a piece of music) composed a symphony

(2) : to compose music for

3 : to deal with or act on so as to reduce to a minimum compose their differences

4 : to arrange in proper or orderly form The two men had laid him on the bed, and composed his limbs.— Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

5 : to free from agitation : calm, settle composed himself Life moves on, … and one must compose oneself to meet it …— Rose Macaulay

intransitive verb

: to practice composition (as of literary, musical, or typographical work) At the age of 10, he was composing at the piano.

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Examples of compose in a Sentence

She composed a letter to her sister. He is in his studio composing.

Recent Examples on the Web

Takada composed the instrumental for the 20-minute short film, which is directed by Partel Oliva. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Two Generations of Experimental Musical Artists Join Forces for a Dreamy New Kenzo Video," 12 July 2018 In sharp contrast to the slap-dash political image the country broadcasts to the globe, England’s performances in this year’s World Cup have been uncharacteristically composed, clinical and tactically astute. Sean Williams, The New Republic, "England’s World Cup Team: the Anti-Brexit," 10 July 2018 Earlier this year, Black convened a meeting to try to sort through the data generated by the SOMNIA team, composed of experts from nine countries including Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and Argentina. Helen Branswell, STAT, "A stubborn medical mystery: Was pandemic flu vaccine tied to an increase in narcolepsy cases?," 5 July 2018 The adjacent wood wall is composed of shelving units, kitchen cupboards, and wardrobes. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "355-square-foot apartment maximizes limited urban space," 28 June 2018 Performances, which feature a cast, crew and pit orchestra composed of Avon High School students, runs from April 27 to 29 at the Avon High School Auditorium, 510 W. Avon Road. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 24 Apr. 2018 The region is composed of eight countries with distinct markets and economies. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "Uber is selling its Southeast Asia business to competitor Grab," 26 Mar. 2018 The bezels on each center stone are composed of acanthus leaves sculpted in gold. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Dior's Latest Fine Jewelry Collection Is Inspired By Royalty's Hidden Secrets," 6 Mar. 2018 The book is composed of two interwoven sections, in different fonts. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "A Book About a Book About Schizophrenia," 23 Feb. 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for compose

Middle English, from Anglo-French composer, from Latin componere (perfect indicative composui) — more at compound

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Statistics for compose

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for compose

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

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English Language Learners Definition of compose

: to come together to form or make (something)

: to create and write (a piece of music or writing)

: to practice the art of writing music


com·pose | \kəm-ˈpōz \
composed; composing

Kids Definition of compose

1 : to form by putting together compose a team

2 : to be the parts or materials of This cloth is composed of silk and wool.

3 : to create and write compose a song compose a letter

4 : to make calm : get under control Although the news is shocking, I'll try to compose myself.

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Comments on compose

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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