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.

Examples of compose in a Sentence

She composed a letter to her sister. He is in his studio composing.
Recent Examples on the Web Its exfoliants are composed of two types of differently sized granules, made from biodegradable cellulose and jojoba wax beads, to effectively scrub your skin without causing any abrasions or irritation. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Monk is a disgruntled writer who tires of seeing novels full of Black stereotypes succeed and so composes one — this time, a satire — under the pen name Stagg R. Lee. Jenelle Riley, Variety, 15 Feb. 2024 Two members of the French Resistance suddenly appear and shoot the soldiers, and Catherine, startlingly composed, escapes with them. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 15 Feb. 2024 Not only was the chatbot’s rewording appropriate for work, it was composed well enough to send without any adjustments. Reece Rogers, WIRED, 15 Feb. 2024 In addition to Belgica antarctica, the terrestrial ecosystem is composed of just a handful of small animals like springtails (a type of tiny arthropod), a smattering of microorganisms and low-lying ground cover such as lichen. Popular Science, 15 Feb. 2024 The former president has now reported making at least $6.75 million over the past two years from books largely composed of other people’s work. Danielle Chemtob, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 His brother, John Rosamond Johnson, composed the music. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 11 Feb. 2024 This year, Oakdale will be trying Turbo Melt, composed of magnesium chloride and a biodegradable waste product, which comes from food and beverage waste streams — these substances are byproducts of food and beverage manufacturing that would otherwise go unused. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, 3 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'compose.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 1 Mar. 2024.

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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