compose

verb

com·​pose kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce compose (audio)
composed; composing

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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.

Example Sentences

She composed a letter to her sister. He is in his studio composing.
Recent Examples on the Web Over the New Year's weekend alone, more than 700 migrants, mostly Cubans, arrived in the Keys, including 337 who landed on the remote islands that compose Dry Tortugas National Park. Arkansas Online, 6 Jan. 2023 Working with top songwriters who compose tunes specifically for her. Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2022 Two scientists from Texas A&M are leading a study in partnership with community members who compose the steering committee and environmental advocacy group Downwinders at Risk. Dallas News, 21 Mar. 2022 Players who hurried through penalties missed more than players who took enough time to compose themselves, according to his research. Ben Cohen, WSJ, 8 Dec. 2022 Luckily, because her three children were distracted, Cassie Morrison, 36, had a moment to compose herself. Dallas News, 27 May 2022 To pick these patterns out, the researchers recruited 100 fluent speakers of Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean and Russian, and asked them to compose a list of their language's filthiest, foulest phrases. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 31 Dec. 2022 The director soon asked Mr. Badalamenti to compose the score. Tim Greiving, Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2022 Fast forward to a few months ago, when Dorrance, knowing a show in Atlanta was on the calendar, asked Marcellus to compose something. Brian Seibert, New York Times, 6 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near compose

Cite this Entry

“Compose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compose. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

compose

verb
com·​pose kəm-ˈpōz How to pronounce compose (audio)
composed; composing
1
a
: to form by putting together : fashion
b
: to form the substance of : constitute
a stew composed of many ingredients
c
: to arrange type in order for printing : set
2
: to create by mental or artistic labor
compose a song
3
: to arrange in proper form
4
a
: to make (oneself) calm
b
: to gain control of
try to compose your feelings

More from Merriam-Webster on compose

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